How to Protect Your Skin from UV Damage This Summer

Everyone can benefit from getting out into the sunlight. If you have mental illnesses like depression or physical issues like vitamin D deficiency, some time in the sun can improve your symptoms and elevate your mood. However, too much sun can cause even more problems if you aren’t taking the steps to keep yourself protected from harsh rays. Here are a few things you can do to keep your skin safe from dangerous sun damage this summer.

Wear Sunscreen Every Day (Even When It’s Cloudy)

This seems obvious, but investing in a high quality sunscreen and wearing it every day, even when it’s cloudy, can go a long way in protecting your skin from the sun. Apply at least one ounce (or one shot glass) of sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside, and use a lip balm with SPF protection. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, and don’t use anything less than 30 SPF. Use water resistant sunscreen so it doesn’t come off when you sweat or go swimming, and reapply throughout the day for the best protection.

Reduce Exposure to the Sun

It’s important to spend time in the sun, but you should limit your exposure between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, when the sun’s rays are the harshest. Try to limit your outdoor time to mornings and evenings, and go into the shade if your shadow is shorter than you. 

Wear a hat to shade your face, neck and ears, and use sunglasses to protect your eyes. Try to cover up with long sleeve shirts and pants, and opt for dark, tightly woven fabrics over light, loose-knit ones. You can even look for clothes made with sun protection in mind. It might be uncomfortable to walk around in the heat wearing dark, warm clothing, so take extra steps to keep yourself cooled off and hydrated. 

If you feel yourself becoming dizzy, nauseous, confused, or weak after a long time in the sun, you might be suffering from heat exhaustion and you should go inside, lie down, and cool yourself off with air conditioning and plenty of water.

Be Mindful of Sun Sensitivity

Our last piece of advice is to stay aware of any medications or conditions that might make you more sensitive to the sun. Anti-inflammatories, antifungals, blood pressure medications, chemotherapy, and some antibiotics can cause sun sensitivity. 

Autoimmune disorders like Lupus can cause similar sensitivity, as well as certain vitamin deficiencies like anemia. 

If you have a condition or take a medication that causes sun sensitivity, be extra careful about going out into the sun and avoid going out when the sun is at its brightest.

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