The sun may be about 93 million miles away, but many of us are well acquainted with the damage it can do to our skin and our overall health if we aren’t careful. In honor of UV Safety Month, here are a few facts and tips to keep in mind:
UV-B rays reach the outer layer of your skin. UV-A rays can penetrate the middle layer of your skin. It’s important to protect yourself against both types.
UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. During this time of day, try to avoid being in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
Skin cancer and premature aging are well-known risks of unprotected sun exposure, but UV rays can also suppress your immune system.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Certain kinds of drugs, including anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, can increase sun sensitivity.
Apply a palm full of sunscreen — at least SPF 30 — every two hours, or after swimming or sweating, even if the sunscreen claims to be waterproof.
Wear sunglasses! Over time, heightened UV exposure can cause cataracts and even cancer of the eye or eyelid, according to The Vision Council.
If you must spend time in the sun, wear long sleeves and pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Tanning is not guaranteed protection against sunburn, and definitely doesn’t guard you against harm from UV rays. Research suggests that prolonged UV exposure damages your skin cells’ DNA, according to SkinCancer.org. Try using tinted lotions to achieve a sun-kissed look rather than using tanning beds or spending time in the sun without sunscreen.