As I look outside from my living room at the bright sun, I was thinking about sun safety. It is currently peak sun hours, so I’m staying inside right now (and the humidity is off the charts today). But, later today, I’ll go on a walk with my “pack” and will make sure I have SPF and a hat on to protect me from the sun. I’m not a burner, I tan really easily and really darkly. However, just because I’m not burning doesn’t mean my skin isn’t getting damaged. If anything, I work really hard to protect my skin so I don’t get wrinkles. Vain, maybe. Helpful, yes.
I don’t think being super tan is as in style as it was when I was growing up, definitely not as much as when my mom was growing up. I am very careful about putting on SPF every day (especially on my face) and wearing a hat when I go outside. If I’m going out in peak hours, I wear long sleeves, especially when I was working out on the construction sites during the summer. The first summer I had to work out on a site that had NO trees, I bought 4 of these shirts and wore them on a rotation. Easy to clean, looked good when I was sweating, and protected me from the sun. But you can’t forget your legs either, I bought 3 pairs of these pants to wear out on the site. They were light, protective, and very easy to move in, which is necessary when you’re climbing up on huge pieces of equipment and you’re only 5’4″.
The best tips for staying out of sun and doing what you can to prevent sun causing skin damage/diseases:
- Wear sunscreen. Simple right? Well, you need to make sure you put it on as instructed, usually every 2 hours. I don’t wear any less than SPF 50 and really slather it on. If you’re going out in skin bearing clothes, put your sunscreen on in the buff. That way, you ensure that you are covered completely and don’t miss any spots!
- Cover up. This is the easiest way to avoid skin damage. I like this option better than sunscreen because sunscreen will make me sweat a lot (pretty I know). Nice cool shirts and a hat are perfect for all outdoor activities. AND, it doesn’t make your hands all gunky.
- Stay inside/ the shade during peak hours. While peak hours actually vary based on where you live, a good rule of thumb is to avoid the sun between 10 am – 4 pm. According to the EPA, trees and umbrellas don’t offer 100% protection, but do help.
- Evaluate the outdoor conditions and location you’re at. If it is cloudy, you can still get sun, so don’t be fooled. If you’re out on water, snow, or sand you need to be extra careful. Those surfaces can reflect the sun back up to you and make it more intense. You’ll need to be more vigilant with applying sunscreen and cover. For example, I was out on a boat for work and applied sunscreen everywhere I thought I needed it and had long sleeves on. What I forgot was the back of my hands were going to be resting on the side of the boat and they got burnt!
If you loved that tanned look (I’m guilty of it, I love being tan), go the safer route and apply fake tan. The formulas have gotten so good now that they don’t look orangey like they used to. I use this stuff when I feel pale in the winter time. I love it because it mixes in with your moisturizer so you can control the shade. I highly recommend it.
In closing, go have fun in the sun but be careful!! Do you have any sun tips to share?