July is Summer Safety Month!
What is the best way to protect myself from the sun?
Limit your exposure to UV rays but do not completely avoid the outdoors. It is healthy to engage in outdoor physical activity as long as you follow some rules:
- Apply sunscreen
- Wear a shirt
- Put on a hat
- Use sunglasses (protects sensitive skin and eyes)
- Seek shade (especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm)
What is the right way to apply sunscreen?
Sunscreen is designed to protect from the sun’s UV rays. There are many formulations of sunscreens: lotion, cream, gel, ointment, and wipes. Make-up can also contain sunscreen as well as lip balms depending on each brand. Use broad-spectrum products with protection against UVA and UVB rays and SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher. Apply a thick layer evenly throughout your body. Usually about a palm-full should be used (around one ounce) to cover arms, legs, neck and face. Do not disregard delicate areas such as hands, feet, ears and nose. Reapply often for maximal protection since no sunscreen has 100% protection especially if you plan to engage in water sports. “Waterproof’ sunscreen may protect up to 80 minutes and “Water resistant” for up to 40 minutes. If you are planning on using make-up or insect repellent then apply the sunscreen first.
Can chemicals in sunscreen hurt me?
People have different responses to the multiple kinds of sunscreens and some can irritate the skin. There are hypoallergenic and dermatology tested sunscreens available. It is recommended to try the product on a small area of the body first to see if your body tolerates it. It is also advisable to check the expiration date on all your sunscreen products, as this can be ineffective protection and also a potential irritant to your skin.
Sun exposure can add up day after day and pose a threat to your skin. Be sun smart and protect yourself from the sun at all times. UV light can pass through some clothing and windows. If you plan to be outdoors choosing your clothing to cover as much of your body as you can, wear all protective devices and sunscreen.
Tips and comments on UV protection for this summer:
If you plan to be outdoors you can look up your area’s UV index in newspapers, online, or even phone applications these days. UV strength varies with the time of the year and location. Beaches are a high-risk location since sand and water increase the UV reflection and radiation exposure.
For more information you can visit the following websites: