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Facts, Myths, & Safety Tips on UV Protection!
Summertime is here! Why remain indoors when you can delight in the warm sunny breeze? With proper UV protection enjoying outdoor activities can be fun and safe. Preparing, planning, and learning about UV protection is important year round, especially during the summer. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, UV rays from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer – the most common type of cancer in the United States. It’s significant to understand the effects of prolonged UV exposure, and how to maintain sun-safety tips during this time of year.
Here are Some Facts & Myths on UV Protection:
Fact: Sunscreen lotions, sprays, and sticks have a determined expiration date on the product label. It’s important to check expiration dates as most products have a 2-3 year shelf life. Be sure to inspect sunscreen products periodically for expiration dates.
Myth: Waterproof sunblock is good for the entire duration of water activities. This is a misleading marketing strategy, and now companies are required to include the duration of sunscreen protection on product labels. Water-resistant sunblock provides protection for a given period of time (e.g. for 2 hrs.), without needing to the reapply when exposed to water. This protection is for a specific time frame, thus it’s important to the product instructions and reapply sunscreen as directed.
Fact: Wide brim hats provide better protection than visors. Although visors protect the face from direct sunlight, they fail to shade the top of the head. The American Cancer Society shares the following, “A hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around is ideal because it protects areas that are often exposed to intense sun, such as the ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.”
Myth: Apply sunscreen first thing in the morning and it’s good for the entire day. Sunscreen should be applied as directed on the product label, and reapplied as needed. Water sports and outdoor activities that promote sweat require frequent sunscreen application.
Fact: Clothing provides a layer of protection from direct sunlight. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and skirts that cover most of the skin act as a barrier to UV radiation. It’s crucial to apply sunscreen to unexposed skin, as sunrays can even penetrate through clothing. Lighter colors and airy fabrics are recommended over darker tones and thick cloths.
Myth: The darker the sunglass lenses, the better the protection for the eyes. The color of lens does not determine the protection against UV rays. When purchasing sunglasses it’s recommended to go with shades that offer 99-100% UVA and UVB protection.
Summer Safety Tips to Keep in Mind:
1. Schedule outdoor activities in the early morning or later afternoon, rather than at noon or peak of day.
2. Examine your skin daily for abnormal lesions, scabs, growths or other irregularities. Report any unusual findings to your physician.
3. Wear sunglasses that protect the eyes from UVA and UVB radiation.
4. Use sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, and reapply as needed.
5. Wear a hat to shade off the scalp, face, and neck area from direct sunrays.
7. Avoid long exposure to UV radiation.
The American Cancer Society comments on UV protection stating:
Simply staying in the shade is one of the best ways to limit your UV exposure. If you are going to be in the sun, “Slip! Slop! Slap!® and Wrap” is a catch phrase that can help you remember some of the key steps you can take to protect yourself from UV rays:
1. Slip on a shirt.
2. Slop on sunscreen.
3. Slap on a hat.
4. Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them.
Before steeping out to a sunny day, take a moment to review the facts, myths, and tips of UV Protection. Summer time can be fun and safe when UV preventive strategies are implemented. Stay healthy and have fun in the sun!
* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.