We’re approaching some of the hottest months of the year, and after the freezing winter we had, this is a welcome change! With only limited months to enjoy beautiful weather here in New York, we all want to get the most out of it and spend as much time outside as possible. While getting some Vitamin D through natural sunlight is great for our health, the sun’s rays can also pose some major health problems. It’s extremely important to protect our bodies while having fun in the sun and to understand how its rays impact our bodies in order to properly protect ourselves!
- Having darker-colored skin tones does not mean
you’re less susceptible to sun damage! While lighter-skinned
people have less melanin (the chemical that helps protects your
skin from damage), any darkening of the skin or burning from sun
exposure means that skin damage has been done.
- The sun is typically at its strongest during the hours of
10:00am-4:00pm. Try to avoid being exposed to it during these hours
by seeking shade while outside. If you will be in the sun, be sure
to reapply sunscreen regularly and cover up with hats and other
- Babies have thinner skin and therefore burn easier, but
sunscreen should never be applied to children under 6 months. They
need to be kept out of the sun at all times by clothing, hats, and
- Sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes before exposure to
the sun. Use it generously, and reapply every 2 hours and after
swimming or sweating. Remember that even when it’s overcast
outside, sun damage can still occur and you should still use sun
- Don’t forget the eyes! Sun damage to the eyes can lead to
a burned cornea and the development of cataracts later in life.
Always wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and check the label to
make sure that the lenses protect against UVA and UVB rays –
if they’re not labeled, don’t assume that they are
- Not all sunscreen is created equal!
- The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, indicates the level of
protection against UVB rays, which are the biggest cause of
sunburn. The higher the SPF, the greater the percentage of UVB rays
that you are protected against – however, no sunscreen is
- Look for sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum”. This
means that it protects against both UVA and UVB
- While no sunscreen is waterproof, it can be labeled
“water resistant”. Even though your sunscreen may be
water resistant, it should still be reapplied after swimming or
- Check the expiration dates, and throw away sunscreen that is expired – it won’t work properly anymore.
- The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, indicates the level of protection against UVB rays, which are the biggest cause of sunburn. The higher the SPF, the greater the percentage of UVB rays that you are protected against – however, no sunscreen is 100% protective.
Enjoy the sunshine and always follow these rules to avoid painful sunburns, early skin aging, long-term skin damage, and skin cancer!