WPS Health Insurance Blog

Part 1: Summer Sun Basics: Protect Your Skin

Posted by Bonnie Walke

Jun 8, 2015 10:40:00 AM

summer-sunSummer is almost here and most of us are spending more time out in the sun. Don’t forget that when you are out basking in the sun that you want to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Taking precautions now can help decrease your chance of developing skin cancer later and prevents wrinkles.

Everyone needs to use sunscreen, no matter what type of skin tone you may have.

Avoid sun exposure

The best way to prevent sunburns is to avoid sun exposure:

  • Stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which are the strongest hours of sunlight
  • Wear protective clothing:
o   Wide-brimmed hats
o   Sunglasses with UV protection
o   Loose-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs
o   Clothing made from sun-protective fabric (the label explains how effective the item is)

Sunscreen protection

Sunscreens are products combining several ingredients that help prevent the sun’s UV radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

Sunscreens come in many forms: lotions, gels, creams, ointments, and sprays. Always use a sunscreen that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30+ and reads "broad spectrum" to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.

Application

  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going into the sun.
  • Re-apply every two to three hours while in the sun and after swimming or sweating.
  • Most sunscreens are not fully effective, because they are applied incorrectly. It takes about 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover an adult’s body.

Common myths about sunscreen and exposure

  • Wearing sunscreen can cause vitamin D deficiency. Not true.
  • If it is cold or cloudy outside, you don’t need sunscreen. Not true. Up to 40% of the sun’s UV radiation reaches the Earth on a completely cloudy day.
  • 80% of your sun exposure comes as a child, so it’s too late to do anything now. Not true. This is a misinterpretation; studies show that we get less than 25% of our total sun exposure by age 18.

To-do list

  • Buy a high-quality sunscreen with an SPF of 30+
  • Check the ingredients to make sure it is broad spectrum
  • Use the sunscreen correctly and re-apply as necessary

Enjoy your time out in the sun, but take precautions so you and your family can stay safe this summer. Check back soon for Part 2 of Summer Sun Basics!

Topics: health & wellness