Staying safe from the sun

Photo credit: Pixabay. Taken from pexels.com. https://www.pexels.com/creative-commons-images/

By Maia Wiederhold, illustrator.

The last bits of snow are melting, the weather is warming up and a few signs of spring are coming our way! With this change in the seasons comes the one thing we all love, but are dangerously unmindful to: the sun.

Everyone loves a sunny day outdoors; the world looks brighter and we feel happier. However, what many people fail to realize is that we need to protect our skin from the sun at all costs, even if it doesn’t seem like there is any damage being done. Too much sun can cause irreversible skin and eye damage, particularly skin cancer. Here are some tips on making sure you stay protected this upcoming spring and summer.

Use Sunscreen — This is the easiest and biggest way to prevent ourselves from developing skin cancer. By simply applying a sunscreen with the right ingredients, you can protect yourself from many diseases. Sunscreen should be applied everyday, whether it is in your everyday moisturizer or you apply it separately. Even if it looks like it is cloudy out, sun rays are still able to reach your skin! You should regularly be applying a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when you are outdoors. It is also important to remember to reapply, especially if you have been in water. Make sure you are buying a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB radiation. Sunscreens that do not have both will help you avoid painful sunburns, but not skin cancer.

Seek Shade — The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. It is important that we give our skin a break from the sun on long and bright days. This does not mean you have to be a hermit and avoid the light all summer, but just be sure to recognize when your skin feels too warm. A good rule to follow is the shadow rule. If your shadow is shorter than your body, the ray’s are strong and you should find shade for a little bit to avoid getting sunburned or skin cancer.

Cover Up — This is one of the most obvious tips for protecting yourself from the sun: block it! Two of the most common places to get sunburns are our necks and ears. One of the best ways to protect these areas is by covering up! Cute, wide brimmed hats are always in style and also help give a little extra shade if you are out in the open. Sunglasses that have UV absorption also provide protection for our eyes and the sensitive skin around them. Remember that if you have naturally dark skin, this does not make you immune to the dangers of the sun. It is still important to cover up when needed.

Ditch The Tan — We all love the look and feeling of having a crispy golden tan. However, most of us are unaware of what is at stake when we try to get one. Laying out in the sun for hours on end may give us a beautiful glow, but it can also result in irreversible skin cancer. We can also damage our skin by causing premature aging when we spend too much time in the sun. Additionally, tanning beds give off ultraviolet lights that can be even more harmful! This summer, remember that you might be okay with being a few shades lighter if it means having a strong and healthy body for much longer. And if you must have that tan, consider using a self tanning lotion in addition to your sunscreen each day.

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