There are a lot of things to enjoy about summer: Swimming, cookouts, and gorgeous weather are just a few of many. But while it’s great to soak up some rays, it’s important to remember to do it safely. Even if you remember to apply sunscreen before you head outside, you should be reapplying it every few hours to counter harmful side effects from the sun’s rays.
How can you prevent sun damage?
Of course, staying out of the sun is the most effective way to prevent long-term sun damage. That’s not always possible, though, especially for the outdoorsy folks. Dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen to every area of skin that’s exposed to the sun. If you’re going to be outside for longer than two hours, you should also reapply once two hours have passed. Planning on working up a sweat or going swimming? You’ll probably want to lotion up even more frequently.
If you want to get really serious about sun protection, dermatologists recommend keeping sun exposure to a minimum between 10 am and 2 pm. This is when the sun’s rays are strongest. You can also accessorize for extra protection. A wide-brimmed hat, for example, won’t just protect your scalp. It’ll also block those harmful rays from hitting your ears, face, and neck.
What areas do you need to pay special attention to?
There are also some areas people tend to forget about when putting on sun protection. These areas are more prone to damage simply because people don’t remember to cover them. Here are the body parts you should make sure to cover before you head outside:
- Backs of your hands
While it might not be too surprising that your shoulders and face are susceptible to sunburn, these areas are easily forgotten! As for your scalp and the backs of your hands, the skin there is extremely thin. This means it’s not as resilient and is more prone to sun damage. However, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that offers broad-spectrum coverage will keep you safe in the sun.
What happens if you don’t protect yourself from the sun?
The sun’s rays speed up the skin’s aging process, meaning you could experience premature wrinkles and dark spots. Even if you aren’t concerned about those things, lots of sun exposure puts you at higher risk of skin cancer. Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to protect yourself from the sun. In addition to wearing sunscreen, you can also wear long pants and sleeves and keep to shaded areas when you’re outside for longer than an hour.