5 Sun Safety Tips

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With Arizona about to hit its first 110+ degree day almost three weeks earlier than normal, this is a good time to bring up sun safety to all my readers.  It doesn’t matter whether you live in the desert or in the North East you still want to follow some basic tips to avoid getting sun burns.

According to WebMD almost 80% of a human beings sun exposure is received before the age of 18, this is why it is of the utmost importance to prevent sunburns in children.  Studies have also shown that people who received sun burns as a child or teenager were more likely to have skin cancer as an adult because of the cellular damage to growing skin cells.

So remember this with the balancing act that the Sun helps the body create Vitamin D in a way you can’t get from substitute products and by using sunblock you also avoid the benefits of Vitamin D absorption and creation.  So as with anything you have to weigh the benefits and the risks.

Here are 5 Sun Safety Tips:

  • Apply sunblock of at least SPF 30 one half hour prior to going outdoors.  Sunblock takes some time to absorb and become effective, if you apply it when you are outside you can still burn before the sunblock has become fully effective.
  • Avoid going out in direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm (these are peak times, and this is especially true of 11am and 3pm in Arizona desert).    When the sun is at the highest point in the sky is when you are most at risk, when the sun is low in the sky like dawn and dusk the angle of the sun reduces the amount of radiation.
  • Always wear loose fitting clothing and hats when out in direct sun.  If going on hikes, walks, bicycle rides or the like you will want to follow this rule.  Obviously if swimming in a pool it is unlikely one would wear a hat and shirt underwater.
  • Reapply sunblock every few hours as it wears off, if you go swimming it wears off even faster even with “waterproof” sunblock and needs to be reapplied more frequently.  If you have 4 hour sunblock you want to reapply at about 3 hours to take into account the time it takes effect.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.  The Sun can and will damage the eyes over time and deteriorate vision if you do not filter the light from entering your eye.  Never look directly at the sun, each time you do you slightly harm your retina and can risk getting a disorder like Solar Maculopathy.
  • Women should wear make-up with an SPF of at least 15 on their face.  Most people don’t remember to put sunblock on their face and most women do not put sunblock over makeup, so make sure you have SPF in your foundation to protect your face and nose from sunburn.  (Okay technically this is tip #6)

You do want to have some sun exposure without sunblock, but want to limit your outdoor time to 15 – 30 minutes between 7am and 9am.  You can also repeat for after 6pm to dusk if it is still light out that late.

Bottom line is that you want to make sure you keep your body and skin healthy during the hot summer months and make sure you and your kids are protected from getting sunburns.

You can find more sun safety tips over at WebMD but if you live in arid desert climates you need should research tips more specific to your climate and state.

If you do get a sunburn you will want to moisturize and hydrate it and I highly recommend pure Aloe Vera gel and cool lotions.  Avoid oils and harsh chemicals, you want something a soothing as possible and most lotions have some sort of alcohol content and oils can hurt sunburns.  Find a remedy salve in your health food store or pharmacy that has “few” chemicals.

Stay safe out there in the sun.

By the way, if you go to Hawaii you can get the worst sunburn of your life in less than 10 minutes.  I know my family has been twice and have seen how fast it happens.  Make sure you swim in sunblock if you go to the beaches of Hawaii, just fill up a bathtub with pure sunblock, bath in it for 30 minutes then you can go to the beach.

-Justin Germino

Updated: May 30, 2010 — 10:27 pm