It’s UV Safety Month and that means boiling mercury and lots of sun, it’s July in Texas.
While we all love to get out and enjoy the summer there are some simple and safe ways to protect yourself from the sun all summer. Why is that important? The sun casts UVA and UVB rays, both which our skin soaks up.
UVA rays are the way you get that great summer tan. But the look comes with its costs. UVA rays are responsible for premature skin aging and wrinkles. Recent studies also show UVA rays may be responsible for the onset of some types of skin cancer.
UVB rays are the intense, high risk cancer rays our skin soaks up from the sun. These are also the rays responsible for skin reddening and sunburns.
So how do you combat the Texas sun?
Not all sunscreens are created equal. Look for sunscreens with 30+ SPF ratings with “broad spectrum” on the bottle. These sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours and needs to be applied 20-30 minutes prior to going outdoors for the active ingredients to take effect.
Find Some Shade
Avoiding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight will go a long ways to protecting your skin from UV damage. You should still use sunscreen and other preventive measures to minimize damage. If you can use a tree to shade under. Trees go through a process called transpiration. To keep cool trees release water vapor through the underside of their leaves. Sitting under a tree is like natural air conditioning and is cooler than sitting in the shade of a building.
Wear Protective Clothing
It seems counter intuitive but long sleeves, long skirts, and pants can keep you cooler than shorts, tank tops, and t-shirts. Light, loose clothes constructed of breathable material like cotton help prevent your skin from soaking in direct radiation and heat from sun rays. Proper clothing is like wearable shade. Don’t forget to wear a broad-brimmed hat. The back of the neck, nose, and ears are often forgotten when it comes to sun protection. A good hat will protect your face, ears, and neck from the sun.
A Good Pair of Sunglasses
Style, comfort, and protection is what you want in sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. You should also look for close-fitting or wraparound sunglass styles to protect your eyes at all angles from the sun. UV exposure to the eyes has been linked to cataracts and some forms of macular degeneration.
So this summer keep the Five S’s in mind:
- Seek – shade under a tree
- Slap – on a broad-brimmed hat
- Slide – on a pair of UV blocking sunglasses
- Slip – on breathable, protective clothes
- Slop – on 30+ SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen every two hours and 20-30 minutes before going outside