5 Ways to Stay Safe in the Summer Sun

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For many, summer is arguably the best season of the year. Beach trips, no school, vacation, and, of course, the summer sun. But with long periods of direct sun exposure also comes painful sunburns and damage from UV light, a form of radiation the sun emits that damages DNA in skin cells. Not to fret! You can still enjoy all summer has to offer with a few simple tips to protect yourself.

A plastic, multicolored beach ball floats in a pool.

Tip #1: Wear sunscreen!

The FDA recommends wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Even on cloudy days, UV light can still damage your skin, so sunscreen is an absolute must no matter what the weather looks like! It is also important to wear broad spectrum sunscreen, as this blocks both UVA and UVB rays, the two types of UV rays the sun emits. Be sure to apply sunscreen liberally to any exposed skin, particularly your nose, ears, neck, hands, feet, and lips. Most people need at least one ounce of sunscreen to cover their body.

Tip #2: Reapply often

Reapply your sunscreen every two hours – and more often if you are swimming or sweating. The effectiveness of sunscreen decreases over time because of UV absorption and friction. Fun fact: There is actually no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. Water washes the sunscreen off our skin, eliminating its protection. It also helps to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you walk outside to give the product time to sink into your skin.

Tip #3: Wear sunglasses

The sun damages our eyes just as much as it damages our skin. UV exposure can put your eyes at risk for developing a cataract or macular degeneration. And bright sunlight can trigger headaches, so sunglasses also help reduce eyestrain and fatigue. Wearing sunglasses can help protect your eyes from UV damage just like sunscreen protects your skin!

Tip #4: Limit your time in the sun

The sun’s rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so the FDA recommends limiting your time outside during those hours. But don’t worry! You can still enjoy the sun and good weather. Morning walk or evening beach stroll? Yes, please!

Tip #5: Wear protective clothing

Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats can help cover exposed skin and limit UV exposure. Sunscreen never completely blocks the sun’s rays, so combining sunscreen with clothing can add a layer of protection. Sun-protective clothing with darker colors and densely woven cloth can also absorb rays and prevent them from hitting you.

– Chaya Tong