Worshipping the sun can come at a painful price, but staying indoors all day is unhealthy, too. If you practice sun smarts, it is possible to enjoy fun-in-the-sun and protect your skin from sunburn this summer. Sunscreen is considered the number one way to protect your skin from sunburn and sun damage and should be an everyday part of your sun care routine (even on cloudy days).
There are several non-sunscreen methods to enhance the protection your sunscreen provides. Consider the suggestions below to increase your skin’s protection during your sunshine fun.
Watch the clock
The experts at WebMD.com advise against soaking up rays from the midday sun, or from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; when you are outside, seek shade as much as possible. They also advise following the shadow rule, which is a guide that can estimate how much ultraviolet (UV) exposure you are getting depending on the time of day—if your shadow is short, your UV exposure is high; if your shadow is longer than you, your UV exposure is low.
The American Cancer Society suggests checking the UV index, which typically can be found on local media channels, on the EPA’s website and through several smartphone apps, before heading out for sun-related activities.
Be a sunshine fashionista
With key wardrobe choices, you can help protect your skin from sunburn, according to the WebMD experts. These choices include hats with brims of at least four inches, sunglasses that have lenses formulated with UV protection, loose-fitting tops, pants or dresses made of closely-woven material that cover your arms and legs and clothing specially created with sun protection.
Even though covering up will help protect your skin, it is not 100 percent foolproof, according to the American Cancer Society, which warns that fabrics that let light through also let UV rays through.
When choosing a pair of sunglasses, the American Cancer Society encourages shoppers to be selective and choose a pair with a label that states “UV absorption up to 400 nm” or “Meets ANSI UV Requirements.” This is confirmation that the sunglasses will “block at least 99 percent of UV rays,” according to the American Cancer Society, which explains that the presence of UV protection cannot be determined on a pair of sunglasses that doesn’t have a label, and sunglasses that have a “cosmetic” label block only approximately 70 percent of UV rays. As far as tint, a darker lens does not translate to greater sun protection.
Say “no” to tanning beds
Tanning beds are not a safe substitute for the sun. According to the WebMD experts, artificial tanning beds can put you at risk for skin cancer and cause sun damage. Instead, opt for a sunless tanning cream to achieve a tan look. The American Cancer Society also advises against using sun lamps.
According to “The Today Show” writer Rheana Murray, smartphone syncable bracelets like the Netamo’s JUNE Bracelet alert the wearer to the sun’s UV index and prompt them when it is time to re-apply sunscreen or don a pair of UV-protective sunglasses.
Every day, it is so important to be sun care smart and do all you can to protect your skin from the damage and pain UV rays cause.