Sun Safety 101
Your summer goal may be to look like a golden god or goddess, but you'd better build some safe sun habits before you suffer a nasty sunburn and wrinkly skin!
Sunscreen vs. Sunblock
Sunscreen is an invisible cream or lotion that absorbs ultraviolet radiation, while sunblock is a thick cream containing zinc oxide that blocks ultraviolet radation. Both sunscreen and sunblock are labeled with an SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor. It ranges from 1 to 60 - the higher the number, the stronger the protection. Dermatologists recommend at least an SPF of 15, but the level of protection you need depends on how much time you spend outdoors.
Your arms, legs and face are usually well-protected with sunscreen or sunblock, but it's easy to forget to apply it to areas such as your ears, behind the knees and your feet. Skin cancer can turn up anywhere, like the hairline and scalp, so massage sunscreen into your roots and apply a lip balm with SPF 15 on your lips. Try going for a color gloss rather than clear, which will protect your lips even more. And pick out a pair of sunglasses that blocks all UVA and UVB rays. Exposing your peepers to the sun may result in eye damage such as vision loss!
Play it Safe
- The sun's rays are strongest between 10AM and 4PM. That doesn't mean you have to stay indoors during these hours, but try playing in the shade instead of out in the direct sunlight.
- Learn the Shadow Rule - if your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is high in the sky and UV rays are intense.
- When you're out in the scorching sun and sweating like mad, you lose a lot of body fluid. So drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses a day) to avoid heat-related illnesses.
- Suffering a sunburn before the age of 21 greatly increases the risk of skin cancer, so apply sunscreen every day, even when it's cloudy.