Sun damage is the easiest and fastest way you can damage your skin – and exposing yourself to UV rays can cause premature aging and your skin to lose its elasticity. Which results in the wrinkles, dark spots and dry, leathery skin we don’t want. On the more serious side, prolonged exposure to UV rays can also put you at a higher risk for eye damage and skin cancer. You can’t NOT enjoy the summers – but it’s important to make sure you’re taking the right precautions before stepping out into the sun. Here are 4 tips for enjoying the sun without the negative side effects.
Avoid peak hours
UV rays are at their strongest and most damaging between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If I can, I try to plan any outdoor activities for earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. If that doesn’t work, finding or creating shade during those hours is easy! You can find shade under a tree, bring a breach umbrella, plan to take breaks indoors or invest in some sun-approved accessories.
Always keep an eye on the UV Index! You can do this by going on the Weather app on iPhones and scrolling all the way to the bottom. The UV Index is a great resource that tells you the expected risk of overexposure to UV rays. A good thing to note: 0-2 is minimal risk, 3-4 is low risk, 5-6 is moderate risk, 7-9 is high risk and 10+ is very high risk.
It’s a myth that you don’t need to wear sunscreen on cloudy and rainy days. The clouds do nothing to block UV rays from penetrating your skin. Regardless of the weather, I always make sure to include sunscreen in my morning skincare routine (it’s one of the easiest anti-aging tricks!). I like broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30. This protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays!
An important tip is to apply sunscreen (on your face AND body!) at least 15 minutes before going outside to give your body time to absorb it. One application won’t last all day, so I always try to reapply sunscreen every two hours – or sooner if I’m swimming or sweating.
Don’t forget accessories
Sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats are my most essential summer accessories. Overexposing your eyes to UV rays can cause inflammation to your corneas, cataracts, damage to retinal tissue and other diseases – and sunburnt eyelids are no fun! I like to opt for oversized sunglasses in the summer to cover more of my face, and hats do a great job of protecting easy-to-forget areas like your ears and scalp.
Protect your hair
Overexposure to UV rays can dry out your hair, dull your hair color and strip your hair of natural lipids and hair proteins like keratin. Which means split ends, thinning and brittle hair. Finer and lighter hair lacks the thickness and pigmentation that can protect it from UV rays, so I like to spritz on hair mist or a protective spray with SPF before I go outside.
What are some of your must-know sun safety practices? I’d love to hear your tips!