Here Comes the Sun(screen)
Warmer weather is finally here! Don’t let your good times get ruined by sunburns, heat stroke or worse. People of all skin colors and tones can experience damage from the sun – and when the UV index is at its highest, skin can burn in 10 minutes or less. Here are 10 tips for staying safe in the sun.
- Choose the right sunscreen. Pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen with ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) protection, and a Sun Protective Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Discard old sunscreen.
- Apply sunscreen daily. Use sunscreen all over your body every day, even when it’s cloudy outside. Apply an ounce (2 tablespoons) about 30 minutes prior to going outside and take extra caution with areas that receive near daily exposure (like your face, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands).
- Reapply sunscreen. Sunscreen wears off and rubs off. Its performance is also affected by wind, humidity, and perspiration. Put it on liberally every two hours, as well as after swimming or participating in activities that make you sweat.
- Know your sun sensitivity. Some medications increase your sensitivity to sunlight and therefore your chances of getting sunburn. Common ones include thiazides, diuretics, tetracycline, doxycycline, sulfa antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen.
- Wear sunglasses. They’re not just for fashion! Sunglasses help prevent serious eye conditions. Choose sunglasses that are close-fitting to your face and that block out 99% of UVA and UVB rays.
- Put on a hat. Shield your head, face, ears and neck from the sun with a three-inch wide-brimmed hat made from tightly woven fabric such as canvas.
- Dress in protective clothing. Cover as much of your skin as possible in loose fitting clothing made from dark, tightly woven fabric. These garments offer better sun protection than those made from light colored, loosely woven fabric. Use rash guards for babies (>6 months of age).
- Consider high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) clothing. Lines of sun-protective clothing with UPF ratings are also available. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends ratings of 30-49 for very good protection and 50+ for excellent protection.
- Seek shade. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest during the summer and between 10am and 4pm. Limit your exposure during this time by taking advantage of natural shade from trees and man-made shade from umbrellas and other structures.
- Shield infants (0-6months) from the sun. Use UV covers and sun shields for strollers and car or nursery windows. Dress infants in protective clothing.