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How to Protect Yourself from the Sun

The sun is magnificent, beautiful and powerful. It is responsible for giving us light during the day and providing a beautiful and captivating sunset at dusk. However, the sun contains ultraviolet radiation, which can lead to the chances of developing skin cancer. UV rays cause damage to the DNA of skin cells, which then allows cancer cells to grow within the skin.  UV rays are one of the top reason’s individuals decide to stay out of the sun during the summer months, as they want to avoid damaging their skin, want to avoid sunburns and simply do not want to risk their health.

There are several ways people can protect themselves against the sun, shielding them against UV rays and the dangers that come along with it. In order to enjoy the sunshine, individuals are encouraged to prepare ahead of time with a few resources available to them. During the summertime, we encourage people to remember the following tips for enjoying the sunshine.

  • Remembering to wear a hat when you are outside can help individuals avoid direct contact with the sun for both your skin and your eyes. There are several different types of hats that can help individuals stay safe while enjoying the sunshine. Not only will a hat give people the ability to stay in the shade, but they can also stay cool with a hat!
  • Cover up when you are going to be in the sun for extended periods of time. Wearing proper clothing that helps block out the light can prevent the light from damaging your skin through your clothes. Perhaps that means wearing light fabric to keep individuals cool, with long sleeves and pants to protect skin from sun exposure. Remember that you want to stay cool in the summer heat and although your heavier clothes may protect you from the sunshine, they may cause you to have heat stroke or heat related illnesses due to overheating. Avoiding tightly woven clothing and clothing with tight seams may help you stay cool while protecting yourself from the sun. During the summer, people are likely to hang out by the pool and enjoy a day in the water. Of course, if an individual is wearing a bathing suit, you should always have a piece of protective clothing when you are going to be in the sunshine for a prolonged period of time. Consider wearing a water resistant shirt or rash guard if you are going to be in the pool longer than a few minutes, such as during a water aerobics class.
  • It goes without saying that sunscreen should always be worn when you are exposed to UV rays. Especially if you are in a bathing suit or have skin exposed to the sunshine outside of a hat or protective clothing, sunscreen should be worn faithfully. Putting sunscreen on should become a part of your daily ‘getting ready routine’ so that you always have protection, whether you are in the sun for a few moments or a few hours. It is advised to wear SPF 30 sunscreen at minimum when you are exposed to ultraviolet rays, although there are a several broad spectrum sunscreen options out there for individuals to choose from. Not only should sunscreen be applied in the morning, but it should be reapplied through out the day, especially when in the direct path of sunlight such as lounging outside, enjoying a picnic with family or spending time at the community pool relaxing.
  • Don’t lounge outside in the sun if you don’t have to. Often times, people will lay on the beach for hours on end in the sun. While that may feel relaxing and temporarily feels good on your skin, your few hours in the sun may do more damage than good in the long run. In the end, it is simply not worth risking an unhealthy amount of exposure to UV rays just to get a tan or to relax for a few hours. It is advised that you limit your exposure to UV rays when you are not required to be outdoors and in the direct path of the sun. This can be done by setting up a relaxing atmosphere outdoors, but in the shade! Perhaps setting up a hammock in the shade will allow you to feel as though you are taking advantage of the sunshine and the summer weather, without exposing your skin to damaging ultraviolet rays, increasing your chances of getting skin cancer.

During the summer, it can be challenging to balance spending time in the warmth and sunshine, while protecting yourself completely. The long lasting effects of overexposure to ultraviolet rays are irreversible and can even lead to life ending damage. We hope that these tips will help you protect yourself from the sun. As you age, it is more important than ever to take care of yourself, by protecting yourself from the heat and protecting yourself against any damage that you are at an increased risk to. Happy Summer!

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