Stay Cool – Prevent Sunburn

by on May 17th, 2011 at 7:00 am

Since the days are getting longer and the beach is looking more and more inviting, I have been spending a lot of time in the sun. However, after a little stint with a horrible sunburn a couple weeks ago, I am learning how to protect my skin – and surprisingly it takes more than just buying the right sunscreen.

Don’t get me wrong, using sunscreen is essential, but you must do so properly. Applying sunscreen isn’t that hard; just make sure your body is covered and you are using the correct SPF. SPF’s come as low as five and go into the triple digits. Knowing what is good for your skin is necessary, fairer skin individuals should use a higher SPF, while olive and darker skin can get away with a lower SPF.

  • TIP: If you apply SPF 15 before you leave the house and later on you apply SPF 25, it does mean that you now are wearing SPF 35, it just means that you are now slightly more covered. Also, since your skin can be sensitive on different parts of your body, you may need to wear a higher SPF on your face.

After you have figured out your sunscreen needs, it’s time to start thinking about clothing options. If you are going to the beach this point may seem a little silly since you will probably spend most of your time in a bathing suit. However, wearing clothing even for a short amount of time over your swim suit can help you to not get sunburned.

  • TIP: The best thing for beach goers, sun-bathers, and anyone who spends a lot of time outside is lightly colored clothing in layers. Light colored clothes reflect heat and will keep you cooler; wearing dark colors only absorbs the sun’s rays, inevitably causing you to get hot. Even though you are wearing clothing it doesn’t mean that you are fully protected from the sun. In fact, an ordinary T-Shirt only provides a sunblock equivalent to that of an SPF 5.

Lastly, protecting your eyes from the sun is imperative. Long term exposure to the sun (which gives off UV rays) can lead to cataracts. Protecting your eyes from UV rays is vital to ensuring healthy eyesight in the future.

  • TIP: If you already own a pair of sunglasses you feel work well for you, take them to your local eye doctor and see if they provide adequate UV protection.  Otherwise, buy a pair of wrap around shades with UV protection and pair it with a wide brimmed hat. A wide brimmed hat will not only help your eyesight but keep your face from getting too much sun exposure as well.

Remember going out into the sun for long periods of time can lead to many problems in the future, like skin damage, wrinkles and cancer. Also, even though you may slather on the sunscreen, it doesn’t give you a “free pass” to staying out in the sun for as long as you like. Take proper precautions when it comes to UV exposure to guarantee supple, healthy skin.

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