As you spend additional time outdoors and experience more sun exposure, you should take extra precautionary measures to protect your skin from damage. Overexposure to the sun, especially without any protection, can lead to several issues: sunburn, skin spots, “leathery skin,” wrinkles, eye damage, and skin cancer. Your susceptibility to this type of damage reduces if you take time to prepare before spending extended amounts of time outdoors. Where should you start?
- Use the right sunscreen. Sunscreen is the base layer of protection and should be used every day — even on cloudy ones. The FDA recommendation is broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15. You should apply your sunscreen to any area of skin that will be exposed to the sun 30 minutes before exposure and reapply sunscreen generously at least every 2 hours. Lastly, keep in mind that no sunscreen is waterproof!
- Wear sunglasses. Having tinted glasses over your eyes will protect them from harmful UV rays and reduce your risk of cataracts. If possible, you should invest in a pair of sunglasses that work well against UV and UVB rays. Consider polarized lenses to help reduce light glare and prevent eyestrain, further improving vision and sun safety.
- Wear a hat. Any hat with a brim will offer additional protection against the sun, but the most effective ones will have brims that wrap around the entirety of the hat. Having a full, wide-brim hat will offer the most protection for your neck, ears, and face.
- Choose protective clothing. Although it may be hot outside, the best protective clothes are those with the most coverage: long sleeves, pants with legs, and longer skirts. If you risk overheating by wearing these items, try to dress with tightly-woven articles of clothing. UV and UVB rays cannot penetrate through to skin as easily when you cover up with denser clothing. When heading to enjoy the water, opt for a bathing suit cover-up or even a simple t-shirt. As long as it covers more skin, it will offer a higher level of protection. Remember that wet and lighter-colored clothing is less effective at blocking the sun than dry and dark clothing.
- Stay in the shade. Being outside doesn’t have to mean full-sun exposure. You can enjoy the outdoors while staying away from sunlight. Choose a fully shaded area to enjoy your activities, or bring an umbrella to provide your own shade wherever needed. Trees and outdoor shelters are other options to find shade and reduce your risk of sun damage.
Our Urgent Care team can provide care for sun-related illnesses and injuries like sunburn. Our staff of certified medical professionals is available 365 days with early morning and evening hours to provide care and their expertise when you need it most. Do you need help with severe sunburn or dehydration? Book ahead or walk in today.