Sun Safety & Choosing the Right Sunscreen This Summer

When the sun comes out for summer, we never want to leave it. The warmth and energy of the sun are a bit addicting because they make you feel happy. That extra bit of toasty brown tan is an added benefit. However, if we aren’t careful, sunburn and skin diseases can hurt our bodies.

According to the American Cancer Society, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and other sources (like tanning beds) are the number one cause of skin cancer. High exposure can cause sunburn, eye damage, and premature wrinkles — no one wants to have leathery cowboy skin.

Protect Yourself in the Sun

  • Cover your skin. When you are out in the sun, and your skin is especially susceptible to burning, wear light clothing that covers you and a wide-brimmed hat. Summer weather is sweltering at times but many companies make reasonably priced clothing designed to keep you cool and protect your skin. Don’t forget to protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UV light.
  • Take a break in the shade. Spend some time rehydrating and resting in the shade or indoors, especially between peak UV ray times, 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. We’ve all heard it but it’s still relevant, tanning can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.

Choose the Right Sunscreen

Sunscreen should be worn every day but it’s even more important during the summer. When choosing a sunscreen, you want to look for certain US Food and Drug Administration regulation guidelines on the label:

  • Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, this will protect against UVA and UVB rays. All sunscreens protect against UVB (the main cause of sunburn) but UVA rays contribute to skin cancer and premature aging. Products that aren’t broad spectrum must carry a warning.
  • The SPF is the protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. SPF 15 filters out about 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97 percent but past that there is only about a one percent difference. The FDA requires any sunscreen with an SPF below 15 to carry a warning that it only protects against sunburn.
  • “Water resistant” isn’t synonymous with “waterproof.” If a product claims water resistance, it must specify whether it lasts 40 or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. Sunscreen usually rubs off when you towel off as well. Reapplication every few hours is best.

Don’t wait any longer. Drop by your local Test Smartly Labs today or schedule an appointment for your wellness test.


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