With summer fast approaching, most people are excited to shed their winter coats, put on a pair of shorts and head outside for some much-deserved sunlight. After the long period of winter, there’s rarely a better feeling than having the sun kiss your skin while you do engage in some sort of outdoor activity. However, as good as it might feel, spending time in the sun is a double-edged sword. While it’s occasionally spoken about, skin cancer is something that more and more of us are at risk for as we get older, and more than 90% of skin cancer is caused by prolonged exposure to the sun. It’s therefore important if you’re super keen on soaking up some rays, to take some extremely sensible precautions before heading into the sun.
This cannot be overstated enough. Always apply a generous amount of sunscreen onto your face and body before heading into the sun. Whether it’s a gel, a spray or a lotion, using sunscreen is one of the best ways of reflecting the sun’s harmful UV rays that are responsible for sunburn and other extensive sun damage. There’s also evidence to show that using sunscreen daily can slow and temporarily prevent the development of wrinkles and other signs of sun damage. While daily use of sunscreen is advised, it can get quite expensive. Take a look at this list for a great resource of daily sunscreens to use for all budgets.
Own some quality sunglasses
While you might have your skin covered by wearing daily applications of sunscreen, your eyes are also at risk when being outside and exposed to the sun. Too much exposure to UV light raises the risk of developing certain eye diseases such as cataracts as well as cancer. It can also prevent growths on the eye such as pterygium, which can develop after spending a lot of time in reflective and UV-intense conditions such as on a lake or skiing on a mountain (strong exposure to snow reflection can also cause snow blindness). Luckily, there are a number of precautions you can take to keep your eyes safe.
First and foremost, you should be wearing sunglasses whenever it’s bright outside. For ultimate protection you’ll want a pair that is polarized – this means the lenses are coated in a chemical film that helps reduce glare, helping you to see more clearly as well as reduce the amount of UV light getting into your eyes. Finding a good pair shouldn’t be difficult either, as websites like Edel Optics let you choose from hundreds of different brands and styles, meaning you can find protection that not only reduces your risk of damage, but looks good too.
Limit exposure to the sun
Perhaps the most effective way of ensuring your protection against the harmful quality of sunlight is to limit the amount of time you spend exposed to it. This doesn’t mean you have to stave off going outside completely, but rather just spending time outside when the sun’s UV rays are at their least intense. The sun is generally at its most potent between 10am and 4pm, so spending time outdoors either side of this period of time is recommend for reducing potential UV damage.
If you’re unsure about how intense the sun currently is, use the shadow test: look at your own shadow and if it is shorter than your own body, it means the sun’s rays are currently at a point of dangerous intensity. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t forgo the other protections mentioned earlier. Rather, they should all be used in conjunction with each other for one comprehensive UV protection package.