Protecting Your Skin

Not all sun protection comes in a bottle. There are lots of ways to protect your skin all year long. Here are five you can try:

  • Shade – UV rays are strongest and most harmful during midday – particularly between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., so it’s best to plan indoor activities then. If this is not possible, seek shade under a tree, umbrella, or pop-up tent. Use these options to prevent sunburn, not to seek relief once it’s happened. Also, do not be fooled by cloudy skies. Harmful rays pass through clouds.
  • Clothing – Clothing that covers your skin helps protect against UV rays. Although a long-sleeved shirt and long pants with a tight weave are best, they aren’t always practical. A t-shirt, long shorts, or a beach cover-up are good choices, too – but it’s wise to double up on protection by applying sunscreen or staying in the shade when possible.
  • Hats – Hats that shade the face, scalp, ears, and neck are easy to use and give great protection. If you choose a cap that does not protect all of these areas, be sure to protect exposed areas with sunscreen.
  • Sunglasses – Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays. Look for sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Sunscreen – Sunscreens are rated in strength according to a sun protection factor (SPF), which ranges from 2 to 30 or higher. A higher number means longer protection. Buy products with an SPF number of 15 or higher. Also look for products whose label says: broad spectrum (meaning they protect against both types of harmful sun rays – UVA and UVB) and water resistant (meaning they stay on your skin longer, even if you get wet or sweat a lot). Remember to reapply the lotion as needed.

Always consult your doctor for directions and advice specific to your needs.

Sources:  Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institute on Aging, one of the Federal government’s National Institutes of Health.