Medical Program Assistant | Mental Health Services
To UV or not to UV?
Protect your skin while having
fun in the sun
Taking steps to protect yourself while enjoying the outdoors is a key part of your summertime health. While there is a benefit to the sun's rays, overexposure can have you seeing—and feeling—red.
Sunburn is a sign of short-term overexposure, while premature aging and skin cancer are side effects of prolonged UV exposure.
The sun’s UV rays are our primary source of Vitamin D, which helps bones develop and absorb calcium from food. The World Health Organization recommends five to 15 minutes of sun exposure two to three times a week. If you will be in the sun for prolonged periods of time, make sure you're prepared with a broad spectrum SPF 15+ sunscreen. Re-apply every two hours, and after swimming.
It's not just about what you put on the outside of your body. Sometimes, what we put inside can impact reactions to the sun. Some medications and topical ointments such as antibiotics, birth control pills, and benzoyl peroxide products, as well as some cosmetics, may increase skin and eye sensitivity to UV radiation. Check the labels of your personal products and medications for sun protection warnings or consult with your provider if you're unsure.
SPF: Sun Protection Facts
- Stay in the shade. Avoid or limit sun exposure during the midday hours.
- Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs.
- Use SPF 15 broad spectrum sunscreen or higher
- Wear a wide brim hat to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
For information, check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s sun protection tips.