By: Centre Yourself Medical Rejuvenation Spa
Living in the Midwest, we never know quite how the weather is going to pan out. Midwesterners have been spending an unusual amount of time outdoors this May due to the beautiful weather.
When gearing up for the summer months, it is important to be aware of what you can be doing to protect yourself from those damaging UVA and UVB rays. By following a few simple steps, and being aware of the types of skin protection recommended, you can enjoy your summer and rest assured that your skin is safe.
11 Tips to Prevent a Sunburn
- Limit outdoor activities between 10:00am and 2:00pm or 11:00am and 3:00pm during daylight savings time.
- If you get minimally sunburned at midday, beware of further exposure to the sun later in the afternoon. That late afternoon sun can turn minimal sunburns into severe sunburns.
- Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day. Clouds and particulate matter in the air can scatter sunlight making it possible to get sunburnt – even on a cloudy day.
- Sand, snow, concrete, and water reflect large amounts of sunlight onto the skin. Increased UV exposure can occur during high altitude activities such as mountain climbing or snow skiing. The risk of sunburn is greater at higher altitudes because the thinner atmosphere absorbs smaller amounts of damaging UV rays than at sea level.
- Some drugs, or even makeup, can increase susceptibility to sunburn. Ask your pharmacist or physician if your medications can increase your risk of sunburn.
- Wear a hat and long sleeve shirt in the sun whenever possible. Tightly woven fabric offers better sun protection than loosely woven fabrics.
- Be sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of the body an hour before sun exposure. The sunscreen should then be reapplied generously every two hours while in the sun (sunscreens in an alcohol or gel base require more frequent applications). Sunscreens labeled with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or greater provide the best protection.
- Use sunscreen on your face even if you wear a hat.
- Always reapply sunscreen after swimming or heavy perspiration.
- Men should be sure to apply sunscreen to the tops of their ears and any areas of thinning hair.
- Tanning booths damage the skin. Tanning booths contain bulbs that emit UV light, which can cause sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging of the skin. While a tan provides some protection against sunburn, skin damage continues to occur even in the presence of a tan. Tanning bed use, even casual use, can increase the risk of malignant melanoma by 75%!
People who are at higher risks for skin cancer and degenerative changes (i.e. outdoor workers, outdoor athletes, fair-skinned people, and persons who have had skin cancer) should apply sunscreen daily during the summer or when on vacation in sunny climates.