Tips for staying safe in the summer sun

Being out in the sun feels good. And as long as you know your limits, there’s nothing like getting some vitamin D while getting a nice tan on the beach or by the pool.

But what are those limits? When is the right time to pack it in so you can avoid things like skin cancer, age spots or wrinkles? Well first, it’s important to know why the sun’s rays can be so damaging.

Knowing UV rays

For the most part, any damage that comes from the sun is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. These are the rays that cause sunburn. While everyone can get a sunburn, those particularly at risk are pale-skinned people, those with a family history of skin cancer and those with red, blonde or light brown hair.

Unfortunately, there are few hard and fast rules for how long a person should be out in the sun. While it’s important for you to get some sun every day, too much can result in sunburn or, in severe cases, sun poisoning. Symptoms of sun poisoning include red skin and blistering, pain and tingling, swelling, headache, fever and chills, nausea, dizziness and dehydration.

Even on overcast days, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can get through the clouds. Whether it’s cloudy or clear outside, it’s a good idea to stay in the shade as much as possible.

Your skin isn’t the only victim when it comes to sun-related damage. Too much sun can also damage to your eyes and weaken your immune system.

Protecting your skin

No matter what the conditions outside are, using a good sunscreen can help. A sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of at least 30 will help keep the sun at bay. Bonus points if it’s water resistant!

Here are some more tips to make sure your summer is a happy, healthy one:

-Wear sunscreen every day and reapply it every 80 minutes, or more often if you’re swimming.

-Wear sunglasses with good UV protection.

-Wear wide-brimmed hats and long sleeved clothes.

-Use makeup with good UV protection.

-Don’t use tanning beds.