Now that summer is upon us and our minds wander to thoughts of long days lounging by the pool or maybe a WEEK (or more if you're lucky) of lazily kicking back at the beach, we need to be reminded to exercise caution while being exposed to all that extra sunshine.
UV radiation is the cause. Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is important all year round, although we are certainly exposed to it more frequently during the warmer months.
UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy days, as well as sunny days. UV rays also reflect off of surfaces like cement (poolside!), sand, water (beach!), and snow (not just in summer months!).
Did you know that it’s as easy as sitting in the shade or wearing sunglasses and a hat to reduce the rate of skin cancer?
1. Wherever you are, seek out shade. Don’t sit in direct sunlight. Large trees, a large Southern porch, or a beach umbrella provide the perfect solution.
2. When you think of sun protective clothing, consider a long sleeved chambray shirt or a crisp linen shirt. Because these cover your arms, they are perfect for sun protection.
If using as a beach cover up, keep in mind that a wet shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors.
3. Pack sunglasses wherever you go. Leave a spare pair in your car and carry extras in your purse.
As a BONUS tip, opt for unisex styles that can be worn by anyone in your family! Aviators are the perfect style to swap if someone forgets a pair. You can buy stylish designs at lower prices at places like TJ Maxx, so you won't feel bad about purchasing multiple pairs! Of course, my boys will wear ANY sunglasses they happen to find - even the "girly" ones!
If you already WEAR glasses to correct your vision (like some of the Harris Sisters) then buy a pair of prescription sunglasses from your optometrist when you go for your annual checkup. I have worn prescription sunglasses since 2013.
4. Put a lid on it! A wide brimmed hat protects your scalp, your whole face, your ears, and the nape of your neck when poolside or at the beach. Consider a ball cap for all that extra time in the bleachers and/or on the sidelines at kids' sporting events.
5. Put on broad spectrum sunscreen with AT LEAST SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. For children, aim for AT LEAST SPF 30. Remember to check the sunscreen’s expiration date before using it.
Put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin before you get dressed (which makes it easier not to "miss a spot"). Remember that exposed skin includes often forgotten areas such as ears, neck, toes, and scalp (if you have a part in your hair and are not wearing a hat). Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back.
Don't forget that sunscreen wears off. Reapply if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
6. Did you know that insect repellents reduce sunscreen’s SPF by up to 1/3? To avoid getting burned and being attacked by bugs, choose a sunscreen with a higher SPF to counteract the reduction in effectiveness.
7. Our family loves the being outside in the summer, but we try to consider the times of day that we are outside during these months. The sun is most aggressive between the hours of 10 AM - 4 PM. So with keeping that in mind, you can visit the pool or beach in the early morning and evening hours and plan other activities during those peak sun hours. Remember, you'll never be able to enjoy beautiful sunrises or sunsets, if you're only out in the sun during the middle of the day! ;-)
8. Fake it till you make it! We Harris Sisters are fans of the fake tan and NEVER tan any other way than from a bottle. This is our review of the best products on the market for a perfect faux tan.
9. Don’t underestimate a cloudy day. Just because the clouds are out, doesn't mean the sun isn't out. Always remember your sun safety tips even if it doesn't seem all that sunny.
10. The BEST way to ensure you are sun protected is to use a combination of all the tips listed above. You can never be too cautious when it comes to sun protection.