Everything feels a little bit better in the sun. Once summer rolls around, it’s only natural that all you want is to head outside and enjoy the brightness. However, whether you enjoy hitting the beach, playing sports outside, or just lounging in your garden, it’s essential to protect your skin as much as possible. Unfortunately, unprotected exposure to sunshine can have a number of consequences, including premature skin aging and skin cancer. Here are some steps you can take to shield yourself from the negative effects of sun’s rays.
What Are the Risks of Sun Exposure
There are several kinds of sun’s rays, and their potency varies. Prolonged exposure to strong sunshine without protection can lead to acute sunburn. Depending on the degree, you could experience redness, pain, itchiness, and – in more severe cases – even blisters and peeling skin. Sometimes the burns can be accompanied by dizziness, fever and a headache. Sunlight exposure can also damage the eyes, even leading to cataracts. Finally, the connection between tanning and skin cancer has long been established.
Sunscreen is great, but your first line of defense should be appropriate clothing. When you know you will need to go out in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with protective lenses, and loose, comfortable clothing. Your clothes should be light and thin enough to be worn in the heat, yet they should cover as much of your body as possible. This is especially important when you are heading to the beach where you know you will be spending hours outside. For instance, stylish kaftans in UK are popular as light and practical beachwear. Always choose clothing made of natural materials that don’t irritate the skin or cause excessive sweating.
Apply Sunscreen Carefully
It’s not just about applying sunscreen, it’s about applying it properly. Always use a sunscreen with a high protection factor and apply it copiously. The correct moment for the first application is about half an hour before you are planning to go outside. This is because the ingredients need some time to bind to the skin. If you apply just before heading out, you will have an initial period when your skin will be left unprotected. Just one application is not enough either. It’s crucial to reapply often – normally after every two hours, or if you’re at the beach, after every swim. Copious sweating might shorten the reapplication period too. Always adhere to the expiration date on your sunscreen as the ingredients tend to deteriorate after a while and lose their protective power.
Avoid Direct Sunshine
Even with sunscreen and appropriate clothing, it still pays to be reasonable. As much as possible seek out the shade. The tanned skin might seem pretty momentarily, but it’s not worth the risk of long-term sun damage. If possible, don’t go out during the hours when the sun is the strongest – normally from around 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You should be extra careful around reflective surfaces, such as snow and water. Don’t be fooled if the day seems overcast either. Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, research shows that clouds actually block out only around 20% of UV rays. That means that although you might not feel yourself burning, the vast majority of the harmful rays are still able to reach your skin.
Know What Does and Doesn’t Protect You
There are plenty of pretty dangerous myths out there when it comes to skin protection. For instance, self-tanning products do absolutely nothing to shield you from the sun. Similarly, just because you have a tan doesn’t mean you are somehow magically protected, nor does a pretty tan with no burns indicate healthy skin. Even if you don’t have visible sunburn, the very fact that you have a tan already means that your skin has suffered damage to a certain extent. Just a single sunburn can actually double your chances of various skin cancers – melanoma included. Remember to get your skin checked out once a year and keep safe!
There’s no need to shut yourself inside during sunny days. After all, sunshine plays a crucial role in our mental health and is invaluable for our body’s production of vitamin D. Just don’t forget to take a few precautions and prepare yourself before leaving home.