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No matter your age, protecting your skin from the sun is important. Ultraviolet Radiation (UV Rays) from the sun can damage your skin. Because UV Rays can reach the deeper layers of your skin, you could be exposing yourself to skin cancer, skin aging, sunburn and eye damage.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland. In 2016, there were over 11,000 new cases diagnosed. Because it is such a common kind of cancer, protecting your skin from the sun is really important to staying healthy.
Avoiding the sun completely is not healthy either. The sun is the best natural source of the vitamin D, so getting sun exposure is important to your overall health. Knowing how to protect your skin while in the sun is important to keeping yourself healthy.
The UV Index is a numbered scale measuring how damaging the UV rays are on a particular day. The scale starts at 0, which is no protection required. It goes all the way up to 11+, which requires extra protect and avoiding going out during the middle of the day. You can easily search the UV Index where you are and look at the outline of the index. It could be a cloudy day outside, but the UV Index could still be very high which is why it is important to check this number. Paying attention to the UV Index where you are can allow you to avoid high exposure to rays.
Staying inside or in the shade during the strongest rays is key to protecting your skin from the sun. The sun is usually strongest during the times between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Avoiding the sun during this time will help you protect your skin from the most damaging rays of the sun.
The Irish Cancer Society recommends wearing sunscreen to reduce your risk of sun cancer. When picking a sunscreen, it is recommended that you pick a ‘broad-spectrum’ sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. It is also important you apply to dry skin before going out in the sun and reapply every 2 hours. It is also important that you apply sunscreen to all part of your body, including face, lips, scalp and feet.
Because being outside in the sun is an easy way to get vitamin D, you should still go outside. While outside, make sure you spend some time in the shade. The shade can give you usually 75% protection from UV rays. One easy way to do this is bring an umbrella or sun shade while at the beach for example.
Investing in clothing made from sun-protective materials is an important way to protect yourself from the sun. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, then it might be important as well to get sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption to protect your eyes. Covering up can be an easy, but important step in protecting your skin from the sun.
It is important to check your medication because some prescriptions make you more sensitive to the sun. You may have to ask you doctor or pharmacist and they can give you extra precautions for your prescriptions. If your medicine does make you more sensitive to the sun, then it is important that you are taking the extra steps to protect your skin from the sun.
To protect your skin, you should avoid recreational sunbathing. This includes sun lamps, tanning beds and tanning salons. This is one way you can completely avoid damaging your skin.
We hope you understand the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. Staying hydrated in the sun and heat is another important thing to do. Check out our blog on Tips for Staying Hydrated in the Heat.