April Showers are over, the overcast of winter is gone, and now the sun is back to shine. But for all the good sunlight does, it can be pretty harmful as well, especially to human skin. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re outside for a long period of time.
Every summer, I like to take up some side work landscaping for a local company. It’s hard work, but it pays well. With Spring in full force now, I’ve started back up on the job. But after my second day, I was reminded of a painful precaution: sunburn.
Thanks to my sleeved and gloves, I have a singular strip of burnt skin on my forearms. I had entirely forgotten to wear sunscreen. This made me think about how harmful the sun CAN be, and how much better we can make our lives by following some preventative measures. Here’s what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have to say about the sun and its powerful UV radiation.
Dangers of Sunlight
The first and most common issue is obvious: sunburn. Your skin turns red, sometimes it gets flakey and peels, but it always hurts. That’s the result of UV radiation bombarding your epidermis and essentially cooking it. It hurts and it’s not good for you.
The other issue is a bit less common but dramatically more dangerous. Too much UV exposure increases your risk of skin cancer. The damaged cells and UV radiation increase the potential for cell mutations that lead to cancer cells.
Stay in Shade
Direct sunlight is significantly more powerful than shaded areas outside. It’s also less hot in the shade, of course. So if you can help it, stay in the shade. The CDC still recommends you wear clothing and sunscreen, but shade is always good.
Clothing and Hats
Depending on the shirts and pants you’re wearing, you can increase how protected you are from the sun. They recommend tight-fitting clothing in darker colors. A wet, white T-shirt will do almost nothing for you. Hats offer more protection, due to their thicker nature. Those big gardening hats are ideal for extended outside use, but whatever provides shade will be good.
You normally wear them to make the bright sunny days less bright, but they offer medical benefits as well. The UV radiation can damage your eyes as well, and wearing sunglasses outside will help reduce the risk of cataracts in your later years.
This is the big one. If you were to only do one thing here, sunscreen is the most important one. This special lotion is designed for the sole purpose of protecting the human body from the sun. If you’re going to be outside, then you need to wear sunscreen. To be frank, you’re dumb if you choose not to.
When selecting sunscreen products, be sure to pick one with a wide spectrum coverage and a minimum SPF rating of 15. The higher the rating, the better it does.
It tends to wear off, as well. So if you swim, wipe off, or two hours have passed, another application is recommended.
Follow this advice, and you’ll have a fun, problem free outside experience. Just make sure you can handle the Extreme Heat when summer hits.