Sun Protection - Top 10 Sun Smart Tips for How to Avoid a Sunburn
Summer is upon us. As the days grow longer we feel the siren’s call to embrace the fresh air and bask in the sun’s warm light. Whether it’s spending time at the pool or beach, hiking a trail, or just gardening in your backyard, this communion with nature can be a revitalizing time. The sun’s rays provide a number of positive effects, like vitamin D, which helps regulate mood, resulting in a heightened sense of happiness and well-being.
However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to exposure to the sun. Too much sun can lead to sunburns, and in even more dire cases to skin cancer. This doesn’t mean that you should hide from the sun like a bat in a cave, you simply need to slow down and be mindful of your sun exposure. There isn’t any reason that the long summer days can’t be yours to enjoy when you practice sun smart behaviors.
SUN SMART TIP ONE: Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen!
Baz Luhrmann’s hit single Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen is as relevant now as it was when it hit the radio waves back in 1998. Dated reference aside, there simply isn’t any better summer skin care regimen than the regular application and reapplication of sunscreen with a minimum Sun Protection Factor or SPF of 30. Anything less, simply isn’t substantial enough protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Spray sunscreens are not recommended. As convenient as they are, spray on sunscreens lose most of their lotion with the spread of the aerosol spray. Not to mention, and often times misunderstood, aerosol sunscreens still require that the sprayed on lotion be rubbed in. For best results follow the 1 oz rule or fingertip rule as detailed here. Also, reapplication of sunscreen every 1 to 2 hours is a must to maintain sunburn free skin.
SUN SMART TIP TWO: Plan Ahead Sun Protection
A little planning goes a long way, especially when it comes to protection from the summer sun. Awareness of your location’s real time UV (Ultraviolet) index is key to protecting yourself from the harmful effects of the sun.
It is also helpful to bear in mind that the sun rays are at their strongest between 10am to 4pm. Avoid overexposure of your skin during these peak hours to guard against sunburn.
SUN SMART TIP THREE: The Eclipse Rx Solar Powered Personal UV Sun Monitor + Activity Tracker
When it comes to summer sun protection it can feel a bit overwhelming keeping track of all of the ways you can avoid a sunburn. Sometimes just simple reminders to reapply sunscreen is the best defense. For those individuals who truly want to improve their sun smart behaviors, the Eclipse Rx Solar Powered Personal UV Sun Monitor + Activity Tracker is a great every day companion for advanced sun protection. The Eclipse Rx is a wearable device that tracks the real time strength of the sun’s UV index, helping you manage your sun exposure all day long. Eclipse Rx’s unique solar powered design tracks your total UV exposure throughout the day and will gently remind you when it’s time to reapply your sunscreen and to seek shade or move indoors once you’ve hit your maximum exposure.
Eclipse Rx is designed to fit the individual needs of its wearer, taking into account their skin type and the sunscreen SPF factor being used. This personalized data input coupled with Eclipse Rx’s real time UV monitoring algorithm allows the Eclipse Rx device and mobile app to learn your habits and help you change your sun habits for the better. The stylish, sleek Eclipse Rx device is water and sweat proof, so you can wear it anywhere including to the pool or beach.
The mission of Eclipse Rx is to make skin cancer history! Meaning, there is no need for people to suffer from skin cancer. It is completely preventable if you practice sun smart behaviors, starting early in life. Eclipse Rx helps individuals LUV Life Outdoors, a great device for helping protect the entire family too.
SUN SMART TIP FOUR: UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) Rated Sun Protective Clothing
Not all clothing is created equal when it comes to avoiding sunburns. In fact, most clothes are not rated at all to protect against the sun’s harmful Ultraviolet light.
There are however brands of apparel that are Ultraviolet Protective Factor (UPF) rated. They are designed to protect the wearer from the more serious effects of the sun including sunburns and even skin cancer. A few years back you could only buy UPF clothing at specialty shops. Most recently many clothing retailers have realized the growing need for UPF apparel and have added these clothing options to their stores. Additionally, UPF rated clothing can be found and easily ordered online.
SUN SMART TIP FIVE: UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) Detergent
If your closet is not full of UPF rated clothing, there is another option. Sun Guard is a laundry aid that can be added to your regular clothing detergent. During the wash cycle Sun Guard infuses the garment with an SPF 30 level of protection. The SPF 30 protection will remain intact in each treated garment for up to 20 washings before it must be reapplied.
SUN SMART TIP SIX: Head & Eye Wear Sun Protection
The head is one of the most vulnerable areas of the body when it comes to sunburn. Generally, the top of the head/scalp receives the least amount of sun protection although it gets the most exposure!
Sunburn on the face, scalp, and even the eyes are among the most common. Wearing hats (larger brims are best) and UV protective sunglasses should be worn if you are planning on prolonged exposure to the sun.
SUN SMART TIP SEVEN: Seek Shade
An active outdoor life does not necessarily mean that you spend all your time in direct sunlight. Seeking shade is a great way to avoid over exposure to the sun. Shade can present itself in a myriad of different ways. Cool off under a tent or umbrella on the beach or seek shade under the canopy of a tree or the cool shadows cast by buildings. Shade is everywhere most of the time if you look for it. Keep in mind however, that even if you are in the shade, you are still exposed to UV radiation due to the reflection of the sun off of surfaces like, water, sand, concrete and other objects. So be sure to apply sunscreen even when you are in the shade
SUN SMART TIP EIGHT: Oral Supplements for Sun Protection
Polypodium leucotomos (PL) is fern that is native to Central and South America.
The oral supplements produced using this plant have been shown to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Polypodium leucotomos impairs the formation of free radicals caused by UV radiation, this inhibits oxidative damage and helps to prevent sunburn.
SUN SMART TIP NINE: A Diet High in Antioxidants -Sunburn Defense
What you put into your body has more of an effect on your health than almost anything else!
This is particularly true when it comes to skin care. Diets high in beta-carotene and Vitamins C, D, E offer the best defense against sunburns. The antioxidants in foods like strawberries, wild salmon, and dark chocolate help inhibit the formation of free radicals which in turn can help reduce the skin damage caused by sunburns.
SUN SMART TIP TEN: Just Say No to Tanning Oils!
There are tanning oils out there that offer as much protection as SPF 15 (never mind that you should use a minimum of SPF 30 to achieve significant protection). The fact is the purpose of tanning oils is to FOCUS the penetration of Ultraviolet (UV) light into your skin to accelerate the production of melanin, which darkens the skin.
The bottom line is…. focusing UV light into your skin is bad, and not just sunburn bad either. UV light damages the skin at the cellular level. Cellular level damage can mutate cell structure leading to cancerous cell growth and the risk of skin cancer. In America alone skin cancer claims a life every hour. So, to reiterate…Just say no to tanning oils!