With summer right around the corner, you’re probably looking forward to beach days, cook outs, and other fun summer activities. However, it is important to keep safety in mind when participating in these activities. Protecting yourself from harmful effects of overexposure to sunlight is very important for maintaining your long-term health. In this blog, I’ll discuss the health benefits of proper sun protection, how to properly use sunscreen, and other sun protection methods that can be helpful as well.

Health benefits of sun protection

It takes as little as 15 minutes for ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun to begin damaging your skin. Sun damage can lead to sunburns, dry skin, aging skin, and even skin cancer in the long term. Wearing sunscreen also helps to avoid dark spots and discoloration from sun damage, helping you to keep a more even skin tone. Sunscreen and other methods of protecting your skin from sun damage are crucial if you are going to be spending a lot of time outside. In addition to damaging your skin, long-term UV exposure can cause macular degeneration and cataracts to develop in the eyes. Even when the weather is overcast, 80% of the sun’s rays are still reaching you. Therefore, practicing sun safety is beneficial year-round, especially if you are someone who spends a significant time outside working or recreationally.

How to properly use sunscreen

For sunscreen to be effective, it is important that you are applying it properly. To start off, make sure that you are selecting a sunscreen that will provide you with enough protection. The three most important things to look for in sunscreen are 1) SPF of 30 or higher, 2) water resistance, and 3) broad-spectrum coverage. Once you have picked out the right sunscreen, it is important that you use enough of it. On average, adults need to use about one ounce (or a shot glass full) of sunscreen in order to properly cover their body. Make sure that you completely rub the sunscreen into your skin to ensure an even coating. Additionally, apply sunscreen to all uncovered skin, including your lips. If you have very short or thinning hair, you may also want to wear a hat to protect the skin on the top of your head. It is recommended that you reapply every two hours, or directly after swimming or sweating. By following these steps, you will dramatically increase the level of protection your skin has against sun damage.

Other forms of sun protection

While sunscreen is very important for sun safety, it is not the only form of sun protection that you should be using if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Staying in the shade as much as possible is a great way to reduce your risk of sun damage or skin cancer. Additionally, wearing dry, tightly woven fabrics can better protect your skin when you are out and about. Wearing long sleeve t-shirts or hats are great ways to protect the skin on more parts of your body. Finally, wearing sunglasses can help protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes from UV rays.