Sunny summer days mean more time spent outdoors. As you enjoy the health benefits of outdoor activities, don’t forget to protect your skin, which can be damaged by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Did you know that UV rays from the sun are actually a form of radiation? It’s not as strong as radiation from an X-ray, but stronger than that of visible light. The two forms of UV rays from the sun include UVA and UVB. Too much exposure to both types is associated with the development of skin cancer. UVA radiation can cause skin to become wrinkled or leathery, while UVB is the type of radiation that causes sunburns. UV levels are highest around mid-day in the summer when the sun is the strongest. Surfaces like water, sand and snow can reflect the sunlight making the UV levels even higher. This explains why you can get a sunburn while skiing in the winter.
Fortunately, skin cancer is largely preventable with proper sun safety and UV protection.
How to protect your skin from radiation:
- Wear protective clothing such as a brimmed hat, sunglasses and lightweight clothing to protect your skin.
- Stay in the shade and avoid reflective surfaces such as bodies of water, sand and snow.
- Be active outside in the morning or late afternoon.
- Avoid the sun when it’s strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Use sunscreen with a high SPF and apply often, at least every two hours.
- Avoid tanning booths.
- Check the UV index.
- The index ranges from 1 to 11.
- The higher the index the more dangerous.
With just a few simple precautions, you can have a safe summer full of the activities you love.