It seems that our long cold winter is over and we’re starting to see the sun again.
After a dreary winter like the one we just experienced, a bright sunny day is the perfect prescription to chase the winter blues away. But you can get too much of a good thing. And too much sun – even spring sun – can cause a number of health-related problems including burned skin and skin cancers such as melanoma.
Since a little sun can go a long way, we’ve assembled a brief primer consisting of five spring sun safety tips. Follow these tips and you can enjoy the sun safely.
Tip #1: The sun’s rays are dangerous 365 days a year
You might be tempted to spend your lunch hour in the spring sun or mow the lawn on the weekends without protecting your skin. But don’t let the spring temperatures fool you. The sun’s rays can be dangerous whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall. Wear sunscreen of SPF 30 and cover up exposed skin. Just because it’s cool outside doesn’t mean the sun isn’t doing a number on your skin.
Tip #2: Beware of white surfaces
Many surfaces can reflect the ultraviolet rays of the sun, which can cause sunburn. These surfaces include water, sand, concrete and snow, so, it’s important to wear sunglasses and sunscreen even if you are swimming, fishing, snow skiing or skateboarding.
Tip #3: Don’t throw caution to the wind on cloudy days
Just because it’s cloudy doesn’t mean the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays aren’t burning through the clouds into your skin. Make sure you are using at least a 15 SPF sunscreen, whether the sun is shining or the clouds are hovering.
Tip #4: Use sunscreen often and liberally
• Use a sunscreen of SPF30 when in the sun
• Use a broad based sunscreen which protects your skin from ultraviolet A rays and B rays
• Apply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming
• Use a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen
• Make sure to get every inch of exposed skin, and pay special attention to your hands, feet, ears, nose and face.
• Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside so that it has time to absorb and start working.
Tip #5: Don’t stay out in the sun too long
Even with a SPF of 30, it’s not safe to stay out in the sun for more than a few hours. Sunscreens don’t provide total protection from ultraviolet rays. Be conservative when exposing your skin to the sun and err on the safe side. Be especially cautious during mid-day, when the sun’s rays are fiercest.
Be Sun Safe, Not Sun Sorry
After a long winter like the one we just experienced, you’ll be temped to overdo it on the sun. But follow these five spring sun safety tips, enjoy the sun conservatively and you’ll be ready for the summer sun, which promises to be even hotter and even more dangerous!