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How to Protect Yourself From the Sun

How to Protect Yourself From the Sun

Summer’s here! As we spend more time outside in the nice weather, we need sun protection. With every sunburn, your risk of skin cancer increases. So, let’s learn about staying safe in the sun.

Why Use Sun Protection

The sun emits UV rays, and UV rays are everywhere. These rays can cause sunburn. Did you know that just 5 sunburns can double your risk for melanoma (a type of skin cancer)? In childhood, even one blistering sunburn doubles your chance of getting melanoma later in life. UV rays also cause skin aging and other forms of skin cancer.

When to Use Sun Protection

Use sun protection when the UV index is above 3, and protect yourself from 10-3. You can find the UV index in your weather app or online. These are the times you’re most at risk, but you should always use sun protection. In the winter, the sun’s rays can bounce off of snow, increasing your exposure. Even clouds don’t block the sun’s rays!

Ways to Protect Yourself

There are many ways you can protect yourself from the sun. 

  • Cover skin with long sleeves and pants
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Stay in the shade

A Note on Sunscreen

What to look for in a sunscreen

  • Broad spectrum (this means it protects against UVA and UVB rays)
  • Above SPF 30
  • Water and sweat resistant

SPF stands for sun protection factor. For example, if you were to wear SPF 30, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, after swimming, or after toweling off. Don’t use sunscreen on babies under 6 months old.

On some sunscreens, you may notice they say “oxybenzone free”. Oxybenzone is a chemical that damages coral reefs, and more companies are cutting it out of their sunscreens.

By using sun protection, you can lower your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. Wear sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, and cover skin to stay safe outdoors!