July is UV Safety Month
Sun’s out and fun’s out, so you’re probably out soaking up both. During the summer, it’s only natural to want to be outside enjoying everything under the sun. While a little sun can be good for your health, too much sun exposure can be very bad for your skin and leave you with a nasty sunburn, premature aging, and a higher risk of skin cancer. Why is sun harmful to your skin? Blame the discomfort, damage, and danger it causes on the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. While your best protection is staying out of the sun altogether, you don’t need to miss out on the things that make summer so special. July is not only a time for pool parties, picnics, barbecues, and beach days, it’s also UV Safety Month. UV Safety Month is all about exposure. Spread the word to everyone you know about the dangers of sun exposure and the importance of protecting your skin from UV rays. Start by seeing the light on why is sun harmful and why is sun safety important, then discover some sun safety tips that provide a ray of hope against the damaging rays of the sun.
Why sun safety is such a burning issue
While summertime is supposed to be a carefree time, you still need to be careful in the sun. No wonder UV Safety Month falls right in the center of summer. It’s the perfect time to explain why the sun can be harmful and why you need to protect your skin and eyes from the rays of the sun. Why is sun safety important? Because when the sun shines, you see the light and feel the heat, but what you don’t see or feel is the UV radiation that comes in the form of dangerous and damaging UVA and UVB rays. These UV rays are why you need to be safe in the sun.
UV from A to Z
All UV rays aren’t created equal. While both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer and damage your eyes, UVA rays penetrate deep into your skin and lead to premature aging and wrinkles, while UVB rays darken and burn the surface of your skin. That’s why you need to protect yourself from both kinds of UV radiation. One of the most powerful forms of protection is sunscreen. The problem is that most people think that any old sunscreen with an SPF, which stands for “sun protection factor,” will provide protection from both kinds of UV rays. But, SPF only indicates protection from UVB rays. The answer is to choose a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen, which means that it protects from both UVA and UVB rays.
A broad spectrum of sun safety tips
Basking on the beach, splashing in the pool, and playing in the park aren’t the only times that your skin needs to be protected from the sun. Why is sun safety important every day? Because your skin is exposed to the sun’s UV rays all day long—when you’re running errands, driving in the car, and even just sitting by a window—which means that you’re exposed to sun burns, premature aging, and skin cancer practically every day. Luckily, these sun safety tips can help protect your eyes and skin from the sun:
- Screen out the sun’s UV rays with sunscreen – Whatever the weather, wear sunscreen every time you’re outside. Look for sunscreens labeled with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and “broad spectrum” protection.
- Look for protective sunglasses – Wear a pair of large-framed or wraparound sunglasses that filter out both UVA and UVB rays to shield your eyes from the sun.
- Head for hats – Even if you’re slathered in sunscreen, wearing a wide-brimmed hat can provide extra UV protection for your face, neck, and scalp. These areas are often the first to burn.
- Be dressed to protect – Clothing can give you an extra layer of UV protection. Cover up in long-sleeved shirts and long pants, which can now be found in lightweight, sun-protective materials that help block out UV rays.
- Have it made in the shade – Staying in the shade is one of the smartest sun safety tips to take. Try to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, which is when UV rays are at their strongest. A trick to tell when the sun is at its strongest is standing in the sun and if your shadow looks shorter than you are, then you need to seek shade and make sure you’re protected.
During UV Safety Month, spread the word about the importance of broad-spectrum sun protection and share these bright ideas to safely embrace summertime fun in the sun.