Protect Your Skin From the Sun
July may be UV Safety Month, but that doesn't mean I'm going to not care about UV safety the other 11 months of the year. Sun safety needs to be considered every day—even if it is cloudy outside.
Your skin is your largest organ, so you better take care of it. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Follow these recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help protect yourself and your family from UV radiation:
This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your skin damage and skin cancer risk, especially if you are outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection.
Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection.
This is the most important, even if you're in the shade and covered up, you should put sunscreen on before you head outside. Not just any sunscreen, but a broad spectrum protection product with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15, and both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection. Make sure it's not expired too.
How sunscreen works - Most sunscreen products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor.
SPF - Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
Reapplication - Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
Expiration date - Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.
Cosmetics - Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same chemicals used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, don’t use them by themselves.
Before you go outside, whether you're on your boat, camping in the woods or gardening in the back yard, find out what your UV index will be for the day. That way you can take the appropriate precautions to keep your skin healthy.
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