Sun Protection Beyond Sunscreen

Solar umbrella.

Sunscreen is probably the best method for protecting oneself against sun damage. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association website, they recommend using a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunblock with SPF 30 or higher. But the website points out that sunscreen alone will not fully protect you (read more Sunscreen FAQs from the AADA here). So you should know of other ways to escape the heat of the sun and its UVA/UVB rays. Here are a few tips on how to shade yourself from the sun.

Sun Protection is Vital

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Whether you’re fair-skinned or have a darker complexion, you need to protect your skin from being exposed to the sun for too long. And not just on hot, sunny days either. Of course, the sun also has health benefits too. It can boost people’s moods and helps us produce Vitamin D, which supports bone health and optimal immune function. Find the balance between the right amount of sun exposure and too much. The best way to do that is to ensure you utilize some type of sun protection.

Get Shady to Block the Sun

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Seek shade whenever possible to help escape the heat and rays of the sun. Try to minimize your time in the sun during peak hours, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and keep exposure to 30 minutes or less. Take an umbrella with you if you’re on the go. A study published in JAMA Dermatology states that a handheld umbrella can block a majority of the UV light on a sunny day. Utilize a patio umbrella or outdoor curtains for your outdoor living area for extra sun protection. Putting up an outdoor shade, awning or temporary tent is great for backyard parties. Utilize tents and pavilion setups on camping trips or if you are going to an outdoor festival or tournament (if such things are permitted at the venue. If not, wear a wide-brimmed hat and bring your sunscreen).

When possible, opt for a seat in the shade during all outdoor activities. When at the beach or a pool, bring a sun shade with you or beach umbrella so you can have sun protection. Sit under a tree at the park to read your book or find a pavilion at the zoo in which to enjoy your lunch. It is important to take a break from the sun when you are doing all-day outdoor activities like a water park, zoo or amusement park. Find an awning under which you can enjoy an ice cream cone!

Clothing Can Shield You From the Sun

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Long-sleeved shirts, lightweight pants, wide-brimmed hats and UV-protective sunglasses are your best friends when it comes to combatting the harmful rays of the sun. They offer complementary sun protection in addition to sunscreen. Lighter weight fabrics like linen are ideal in the hot summer months for comfort, but tightly woven fabrics are better for sun protection as the rays cannot penetrate the material as well as they can the looser fabrics. Darker colors absorb more UV rays than lighter-colored clothing.

Hats offer protection against the sun as well and the wider the brim the better as it provides more coverage. Straw hats or lightly woven hats don’t offer as much protection as thicker material hats. Couple the hat with UV-protective sunglasses and you are set to enjoy some time in the sun. Just remember to take cover under a shade when needed.

Are You Prepared to Stay Safe in the Sun?

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Get out the outdoor umbrella, slather on some sunscreen, put on your hat and sunglasses and enjoy your day! As long as you are cognizant of your time in the sun and remember to take cover, you are well on your way to sun protection. Just make sure to remember that you do have the ability to be exposed to sun damage even on cloudy days. Please note that this article is for information purposes only; if you have questions about sunscreen and staying safe in the sun, consult your doctor or dermatologist.

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Posted in Outdoor Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted by: Melanie Klag

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