The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Follow these recommendations to help protect yourself and family.
Shade. Seek the shade especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm when rays are at their strongest. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when you’re outside.
Clothing. A T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15 so make sure to use other types of protection when you know you will be outside in the sun. Plan to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when possible and remember that clothes made from tightly woven materials typically offer the best protection. A dry T-shirt also offers much more protection against UV than a wet T-shirt.
Hat. For the best protection, wear a hat with a brim that will shade your face, ears, and back of your neck. Tightly woven fabrics, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays and void straw hats with holes that let sunlight through.
Sunglasses. Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard.
Sunscreen. Sunscreens works by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection so make sure to put on broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days.
Application. Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen does wear off so make sure to put it on again if you continue to stay out in the sun for more than two hours, after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
Examine. Examine your skin once a month to look for any suspicious lesions. Follow the ABCDE’s of Melanoma to identify if you should follow up with your primary care physician at skincancer.org.
Provided by Kendall Taylor of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the June 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.