Summer is synonymous with outdoor activities and an increase in the amount of time spent in the sun. Did you know that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July as Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month? Raising awareness of harmful UV rays and the best ways to avoid radiation is not just important in the summer season, but all year long.
Luckily there are easy ways to avoid the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays while enjoying the best parts of summer!
- SUNSCREEN! - Available in just about any form you can think of (including makeup!) sunscreen products are a great way to create a barrier between you and the sun. However, many people think that by applying their favorite form of sunscreen that they are completely covered! This is NOT TRUE- sunscreen does not block all UV rays and must be considered the final line of defense against exposure. Make sure the product is not expired, has the appropriate amount of SPF, and is applied generously and often!
- Seek the Shade- The best way to evade those harmful rays? Sit in the shade! The sun is at its strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and especially on the beach or areas with sand, water, or even snow. These surfaces reflect the sunlight and increase the amount of UV radiation you may get. Even on cloudy or hazy days those UV rays are getting through! When in doubt seek the shade or create your own with an umbrella, pop-up tent, or canopy gazebo!
- Hats and Other Clothing- Ideally a hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around should be worn to protect your ears and face from intense sun. Also, tightly woven fabric covering your arms and legs would be beneficial if spending hours outside. Many companies now sell clothing that is UV resistant that is lightweight and comfortable!
- Sunglasses- Eye health is just as important as your skin’s well being. Not only a fun fashion statement, UV-blocking sunglasses help protect the delicate area around your eyes as well as the eye itself. Check the labels to make sure that the sunglasses you wear actually protect you against UV rays. Labels that say “UV absorption up to 400 nm” or “Meets ANSI UV Requirements” mean the glasses block at least 99% of UV rays. Those labeled “cosmetic” block about 70% of UV rays.
Lastly, special care is needed when it comes to children and time spent outside in the sun. Children burn more easily and are not as equipped to recognize the dangers of UV rays. By closely monitoring time spent outside, generous amounts of sunscreen, breaks in a shady spot, and the correct clothing you can rest assured that the sun won’t get in the way of summer enjoyment!