There is no question that it is great to be on a beach vacation, outside in the warm and sunny weather. But are you protected from the sun? When planning to be outside for an extended period of time there are a number of precautions to take in order to prevent painful sunburns, sunstroke and protect yourself against the future risk of developing skin cancer. Here are 10 helpful hints to ensure your summer beach vacation doesn’t lead to something unexpected.
Choose and Use a Sunscreen! Sunscreen is a product that you apply to the skin, and once absorbed can protect you against the sun’s radiation. Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Also ensure that you choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more, especially for use on babies 6 months or older and children, who are more sensitive to the sun. Once sunscreen is applied it tends to wear off within 2-3 hours and should be reapplied for the duration of your sun exposure.
Between 10 and 4, stay indoors! Between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM the sun is at its most intense given its height in the sky and proximity to the earth. By limiting your exposure to ultraviolet radiation during these hours you can lower your risk of harmful sun exposure. If you simply love being outside, or your job requires you be outside your best protection is to choose and use a good sunscreen, or wear clothing that will keep your skin covered.
Cover up, don’t get sun struck! Wearing clothing that covers exposed skin can help to block the sun’s rays as well. Choosing to wear long sleeved shirts, long pants or long skirts can protect as much skin as possible. Dark coloured, tightly woven fabrics may provide more protection than light coloured loosely woven clothing. Ideally sun protective fabrics are lightweight, comfortable, and stylish as well.
Cover your lid! While wearing an ordinary baseball cap may protect your scalp and face from sun exposure and help to prevent sunstroke wearing a proper wide brimmed hat may offer the additional benefit of protecting all of your vulnerable skin from the sun. A hat with at least a 2-3 inch brim or a shade cap is ideal because it protects areas that are often exposed to the sun. The areas of your body that typically receive the most sun exposure include: the ears, neck, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp. The back of the neck and the ears are the most common places skin cancers are found, so preventing burns and cumulative skin damage to these areas may help prevent skin cancers from forming.
Protect your eyes from what’s high in the sky! Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from the same harmful UV rays that sunscreen protects your skin from. Long hours spent outdoors over the course of your life without adequate eye protection may increase your likelihood of developing eye disease. UV protective sunglasses can help prevent sun damage from reaching your eyes. You don’t have to spend a mint to find sunglasses that will do the trick against UVA and UVB rays – just be sure that the label on the sunglasses identifies them as having 99- 100% UVA and UVB protection.
Avoid tanning beds! Although tanning beds do not emit light from the sun, they can be equally if not more dangerous than the sun. Many people suffer from the incorrect notion that tanning beds are harmless; this may not be the case as tanning beds emit high levels of UVA and UVB rays. Exposure to tanning beds is close up and self regulated and as such can cause serious skin damage which can eventually lead to the formation of skin cancers. Serious dangers are associated with overexposure for people with all skin types.
Following these simple sun related tips can help to ensure that you and your family are protected against the suns harmful rays. Protecting yourself is the best way to sit back and relax on your next beach vacation.