Here Is How You Can Practice Sun Safety

Many things in life are beneficial, as long as we don’t overdo it. Same goes for sun exposure.

In short, you can get tan, sunburn, skin cancer or vitamin D from the UV (Ultraviolet) rays. This post explains simple steps how to protect from the harmful sun rays and practice sun safety.


We should always be informed of the level of the UV index so we can protect ourselves

The World Health Organization (WHO) developed an international UV index to measure the level of UV radiation. If this number is higher than 3 the UV rays can be harmful to people. In such cases, certain measures should be taken as a precaution.

The UV radiation is strongest at noon when the sun is at its highest point and in the summer months as well. That’s why we hear so much about it in the hot months of the year. But also, it gets higher at higher altitudes and in locations near the equator. UV rays can pass through clouds so even though the sun isn’t shining that doesn’t mean that the UV index can’t be high. We should be informed always of the level of the UV index so we can protect ourselves. You can follow the shadow rule and also determine the level of risk. Simply compare your own shadow with your height on a sunny day. If it’s shorter than you, that’s a sign that the UV rays of the sun are pretty strong.

There are two main types of UV rays that make that damage to our skin. UVA rays are the reason for the aging of our skin and the wrinkles, but not so much for the sunburning, for which the UVB rays are mainly to be blamed.

Most of the vitamin D we get it from the sunlight

On the other hand, vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium which is important for our healthy bones and muscles. Most of this vitamin we get it from the sunlight. Our body will create it every time our skin is exposed to the direct sunlight. We don’t know exactly how much time we have to spend on the sun to make enough vitamin D, because it can vary depending on the skin color or time of the year, or how much skin you have exposed for example. People with darker skin need more time to produce vitamin D, but at the same time, they don’t get burned as often as light colored or pale people do.

UVB rays can’t go through glass. So, don’t get tricked by the thought that you’ll be getting any D if sitting by the window. You’ll need to get out on the fresh sunny air for that. UV rays have some benefits but if we are overexposed to sunlight, like many things in life when we overdo, there are certain health risks as well. The body can only absorb a limited amount of vitamin D at a time. So if you stay longer on the sun that doesn’t mean that you’ll be increasing the levels of vitamin D but probably the risk of skin cancer.

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But not every location has tropical and warm weather with sunny days year-round. If our body is not used to, to that kind of sun exposure and heat we should be particularly careful when visiting such locations. Because the fact is that strong sunlight can be quite dangerous for our health. Here are some tips on how to be sun smart when spending your time out, on one or more beautiful sunny days.

If you want to stay out on the sun for long hours, you’ll need to take a few precautions to protect yourself and your health properly. Start by wearing suitable clothes, big hat, sunglasses with UV protection and use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF (Sun Protection Factor).

Make sure to protect you health and don’t sunburn like never ever. And the thing is that you don’t even have to be on a holiday to get sunburned, it can just as easily happen in your backyard while playing or watering the plants. You need to protect your skin before it turns red.

If you want to be sun smart you’ll have to combine a good shade with suitable clothing and adequate SPF sunscreen for the uncovered parts of the body. Clothing and shade give better protection than a sunscreen does. But, staying under the shade of a tree or an umbrella won’t protect you completely of the UV rays. Because they only filter the sun rays and reduce the impact on your skin in that way, but don’t block them. Also when you’re in the swimsuit on the beach it’s obvious that only appropriately applied sunscreen can protect you from the sun especially because there are no trees and umbrellas in the water and above all, the water also reflects ultraviolet (UV) rays, increasing your exposure at the same time. So, you’ll be at risk of burning more easily.

Reasons for catching sunburn

People with light skin are more likely to burn. If you have red hair or light-colored eyes, moles, freckles and skin that burns easily when exposed to the sun, your skin is probably at higher risk of UV damage compared to other people. Or, if you are simply staying out, more hours under the sun, live on locations at high altitudes or with tropical climates where being on the sun is a more common everyday thing.

It’s no secret that we can get that perfect tan or awful sunburn so easily when we are on some sandy beach near the sea that we never could in our backyard or in the park, on the grass for example. Well, that’s because the reflection of the water, sand or concrete can increase the effect of UV rays. But, actually, the reflection of the snow is the strongest. So, protecting yourself while skiing is as important as while swimming. Sunglasses and sunscreen are a must on the (snowy) mountains too.

Avoid direct sun exposure and stay in the shade when the sun is strongest. The higher the sun is in the sky-the stronger the UV rays. Which is somewhere around noon. Make sure to stay under the umbrella, in a tent or under the trees in those hours. Usually, it’s good timing for lunch too, so you can as well go inside in meantime. It’s good to wear a hat with a brim that shades not only your face and nose but the back of a neck as well. Avoid hats made with holes that let sun rays sneak through.

You can catch a sunburn if you are exposed to too much UV rays. If your skin starts turning red or pilling that’s a good sign of one good sunburned skin. But if you feel fever or rash it also means that you’ve probably been on the sun more than enough.

If your skin gets a sunburn it will stop sweating. And as much as good it may sound at first it’s not good at all. The body loses its ability to regulate the temperature in that way. And you won’t feel good at all. Although a sunburned skin may seem to us like no big deal at the moment – just a little bit of a red skin that’s painful to the touch soon to be gone – the truth is that in time can cause serious disease, such as skin cancer.

You might not be able to notice at all the first signs of sunburn for hours, a day, or maybe even longer. But, as soon as you do you should move from the sun. Stay in the shade and drink as much as water and liquids you’d need, more than usual. Take a cold shower too. And the next time you go out make sure to protect your body well of getting too much sun. Dress something that will cover your body fully and all the burned parts of the body. Lastly, if your symptoms are more serious and intense, you really feel unwell seek for medical help.

We think of clothing as the most efficient way of sun protection we can get

When the UV index is lower than 3 we are safe to stay on the sun as much as we want, without worrying. But, if it’s 3 or higher, then we should do our best to stay protected. How do we do that? Well, clothes are considered to protect best from the sun so cover yourself as much as you can. First, make sure you dress for the hot weather. Loose and bright colored clothes of breathable fabrics that don’t allow sunlight through are the kind you should wear. The tighter the weave of the fabric less UV can get through. Also, darker colors absorb UV rays better than white or pastel colors. But some fabrics may also have chemical compounds that absorb UV rays. Now, because clothes protect the skin quite well of the sunrays, the more skin they cover-the better.

Clothes made of fabrics such as polyester, nylon, wool or silk provide better protection. And when clothes are wet they offer less protection from UV radiation. You may also think of buying some clothing with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). Keep in mind that they won’t protect you forever. They wear down with sweating, water, and washing. So after a while, the UPF will be gone. But, then again it might be just the right time to buy a new one.

Proper use of a sunscreen is one of the sun safety steps you should take to protect well of the harmful UV rays

For that, you should follow the instructions on the label to get the full protection from the sunscreen. You need to apply the recommended amount written on it. Before you go out, like 15 minutes or so, you should apply broad-spectrum sunscreen (that protects from both, UVA and UVB) with SPF 30 or higher on all uncovered parts that will be exposed to the sun. The sun protection factor, or SPF, is a measure of the amount of ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) protection. Sunscreen also wears off. Look for waterproof sunscreens when choosing what to buy. They will stay on your skin better than the ones that are not. Water resistant stands for how long the formula can withstand water or sweat. Either way, you should reapply just enough of it every two hours or more often if swimming, sweating or toweling off.

All products don’t have the same ingredients. Test it before you use it. Apply on a small area of skin and check after a day to see if there is any reaction from it, like a rash for example. If so try another product. And don’t keep your sunscreen in direct sunlight. It will lose its effectiveness.

If you don’t apply enough of the product you won’t get the protection you should. Look for the products with natural ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that are safe for us and the ocean. These are physical blockers that stay on the surface of the skin and reflect the light. Lastly, make sure to check the expiry date of the sunscreen.

If one sunscreen product states that has an SPF factor it means that will give that adequate sun protection regardless of the brand. Well-known branded sunscreens don’t give better protection, but they are probably of better quality because of the other ingredients and formulas or factors contained in the product. If you use sunscreen to protect from the sun, less expensive ones will give you the same sun protection as the many name-branded would.

Close-fitting wrap-around sunglasses provide the best sun protection to eyes from every angle

When eyes are exposed to too much UV rays they can get temporary injuries. If you stay unprotected on the sun that will cause damage not only to your skin but your eyes too. Because the surface of the eye can also catch sort of sunburn and be injured. Wear sunglasses that are UV protective when chilling on the beach. Sunglasses will also protect the sensitive skin around your eyes. For best protection opt for the ones that block both UVA and UVB rays as they are a better option. To give the best possible protection they should fit well on your head. It would be better if the sunglasses are wrap-around since they will completely protect the eyes from the sun rays sneaking from both sides.

I understand that it’s not exactly the best-looking option for everyone’s face which is why it’s not a must. At least make sure the lenses are as dark as possible. Also, polarized lenses effectively block reflected glare and make it easier to see on a sunny day. They are available in glass and plastics. So, think of buying a pair of glasses with polarized lenses if possible. And luckily there are endless choices of branded sunglasses that have excellent optics. Looking directly at the sun can cause permanent eye damage. So, avoid doing that.