courtesy of Sterling Urgent Care

There is something therapeutic about the sun’s warming effect on the body and soul after a long winter. As we enjoy this time of year, though, please keep in mind the lasting effects and potential hazards of being in the sun too long.

Sometimes there is a misunderstanding that as long as we are not burning, and there’s no immediate pain, that we are safe, but this is not the case. While sunscreen is important and helpful, research shows that it does not completely guard against the long-term damaging effects of sun exposure. Even if you are not burning or hurting, there is still significant exposure to ultraviolet light, and it is imperative to cover up or find shade.

Follow these sun-safety tips to help keep your skin healthy:

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m., March through October, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., November through February). Umbrellas, trees, or other shelters can provide relief from the sun.
  • Be extra careful around surfaces that reflect the sun’s rays, like snow, sand, water, and concrete.
  • Wear sun protection gear, like a hat with a wide brim and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes. Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts and other eye problems. Wrap-around sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection by blocking UV rays from the side.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants or a long skirt for additional protection when possible. If that’s not practical, try wearing a T-shirt or a beach cover-up.
  • Apply a thick layer of broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher at least 15 minutes before going outside, even on cloudy or overcast days. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Have fun this summer, make lasting memories, and protect your skin — it’s important!