While everybody needs some sun exposure to produce vitamin D, which helps in the absorption of calcium for stronger and healthier bones, ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage when you’re out in the sun too long. Although there are other contributing factors, including heredity and environment, UV rays can cause serious diseases, such as skin cancer and damage to your eyes or immune system. To prevent against its damaging effects, limit exposure and protect your skin.
Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” means the sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens protect the skin against sunburns and play an important role in blocking the penetration of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, no sunscreen blocks UV radiation 100 percent.
Consider the following recommendations for the proper application process:
Choose a sunscreen for children and test it on your child’s wrist before using. Apply the sunscreen very carefully around the eyes. If your child develops skin or eye irritation, choose another brand.
Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin, including easily overlooked areas, such as the rims of the ears, the lips, the back of the neck, and tops of the feet.
Use sunscreen for all children over 6 months of age, regardless of skin or complexion type, because all skin types need protection from UV rays.
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out into the sun to give it time to work. Use it liberally and re-apply every two hours after being in the water or sweating. Sunscreen is not just for the beach – use it when working in the yard or participating in sports.
Wear Protective Clothing
Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, whenever possible. Also, take special care to purchase protective eyewear for you and your children with labels ensuring they provide UV protection.
Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, find shade.
Be Cautious of Reflective Surfaces
Use extra caution near water, snow, sand and pavement. They reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.
Never Use Tanning Beds
Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, try using a self-tanning product but also use sunscreen with it.
Schedule Preventative Screenings
Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a doctor right away. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
Read Prescription Caution Labels
Remember that many over-the-counter and prescription medications increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. As a result, people can develop a severe sunburn in minutes when taking certain medications.