Throughout the years, more and more information is learned about the damage the sun can have on the skin. From something as minor as wrinkles to something more serious like sunburn or even cancer, too much sun exposure is a serious concern. Yet safe sun exposure is important for ensuring sufficient levels of vitamin D, and it’s also good for our mental and emotional well-being. It may seem like you can’t win either way, but you really can enjoy the benefits of the sun while still being safe—both for yourself and the environment.
There are countless sunscreen products on the market these days, from sprays to thick lotions and everything in between. And when you consider that they all have different ingredients and purposes, it can be overwhelming deciding which one you should keep in your beach bag. Start by really taking a good look at the labels to make sure they have a high SPF and that they’re broad-spectrum. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects not only against UVB rays but also against UVA rays. Plus, any sunscreen labeled as broad-spectrum needs to be approved by the FDA, which should provide an extra level of confidence.
Additionally, keep in mind that no sunscreen is completely waterproof, despite the claims. You will have to reapply it at a frequency indicated on the label. And as for the water you’re swimming in, that sunscreen adds to pollution, so an environmentally friendly sunscreen can ensure it keeps the water safe for future generations.
Did you know that choosing the right swimsuit could protect your skin from premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer? Lands’ End swimsuits have a UPF rating of 50, which is the highest rating possible. It basically means that it blocks 98% of harmful UV rays. It’s so effective that it’s recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Keep in mind, however, that other factors may influence its level of protection. For example, if it is repeatedly worn or stretched out over time, it may lose some of its efficacy. An environmentally safe sunscreen is recommended to be worn along with it.
Anyone who’s ever experienced sunburn has found themselves thinking, “Why didn’t I just cover up a little bit longer?” or “Why did I forget to cover up that part of my body?” It’s funny how we remember to put sunscreen on our face, arms, and legs, but completely forget about the tops of our feet, our hands, and the top of our heads.
Remember that every single part of your body exposed to the sun is a vulnerable area, and some areas are more sensitive than others. The best thing you can do is to cover up. But that doesn’t mean you have to weigh yourself down in layers of clothing. Light layers that you can take off when too warm are ideal. Wearing a hat with a wide brim will help too. As for the clothing you cover up in, keep in mind that there is now sun-protective clothing on the market that can help. Even wearing a long cover-up over your swimsuit when not in the water will help, and it will keep you cool too.
Although everyone is susceptible to sun damage, some people are at higher risk for skin cancer than others. Certain risk factors may indicate that you should take extra precautions in the sun, including:
If any of these situations apply to you, you’ll want to take extra precautions, like making sure rash guards are part of your swimwear collection. Even if you aren’t at a higher risk for skin cancer, it’s still a good practice to protect your skin. And remember that even on cloudy days, 80% of UVB rays can make it from the sun through the clouds to your skin.
Considering how important and fragile they are, it is amazing how often our eyes are neglected when we head out into the sun. It is important to remember that sunlight can reflect off the water and sand, back up to your eye. Even when doing winter sports in cold temperatures with your warmest winter coat, UV rays can reflect off the snow. That’s why it is important to protect your eyes with the right type of sunglasses.
Be sure to not only choose a pair that looks good and fits well but that also has a UVA/UVB rating of 100%. It is this label that makes all the difference. The opacity and color of the lenses have no bearing on the protection they offer: Lightly colored lenses with this label will offer more protection than dark lenses that lack the label. The size of the frames will help too, as larger frames will cover a larger eye area.
As you can see, there’s no reason to be afraid of the sun, as long as you take preventive measures and plan ahead.