7 Tips For Protecting Your Skin From The Sun

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There are many perks to living in beautiful, sunny Virginia Beach, and the warm weather months seem to constantly remind us of them. Our close proximity to beaches, the bay and other natural waterways, as well as our easy access to natural parks, hiking trails and nearby parks and playgrounds make it nearly impossible to not want to spend our time outdoors when the sun is bright and the weather is warm.

While getting outside to move your body and enjoy fresh air and nature are certainly beneficial to your health, harmful damage from the sun’s powerful rays is not. Since you know you’ll want to spend time outdoors this season, plan to take extra precautions to prevent dangerous sun damage to your skin and eyes. Even if you aren’t fair-skinned or don’t have a history of sunburns or skin sensitivity, it’s important to stay covered and protected. After all, you’ll only have one set of skin, so taking the best care of it is imperative.

Here are 7 tips to help you protect your skin from the sun, so you can get out and enjoy the outdoor life you love…  

Wear Sunscreen Every Day
Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin 15-30 minutes before heading outdoors every day, and plan to reapply every 2 hours. If you go into water or begin to sweat, you’ll need to reapply every hour. Even on cloudy days, you’ll need to follow these same steps every day, and don’t assume that you’re protected just because of heavy cloud cover. Remember that the sun is at its most intense this time of year, and even clouds won’t be enough to prevent damage.

Keep Yourself Covered
Even if you aren’t fair-skinned, if you plan to spend time outdoors, it may be best to keep as much skin covered from the skin as possible. This means wearing a hat with a wide brim, long sleeves and pants, and socks and shoes. On hot days when you can’t cover your body fully without being uncomfortable, remember to wear a hat, and try to find lightweight pants and breathable t shirts to help you maintain some coverage and protection from the sun. 

Avoid Midday Sun
During the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, the sun is at its most intense, and these 6 hours can be particularly notorious for causing irreversible sun damage. If you can, try to avoid spending time in the sun during this midday window, and plan your walks, bike rides, gardening or picnics for before or after. 

Beware of Sand and Water
Sand reflects the sun, which means that while you’re on the beach, you need to be extra mindful of reflective rays. Even if you’re under an umbrella, sun can reflect off of sand and onto your chin or other body parts. While you swim, be aware that UV rays can penetrate water, so you won’t be protected against the sun while underwater. You’ll need to remain vigilant about applying sunscreen and using proper clothing to keep yourself covered.

Cover Your Eyes
While you may be taking extra precautions with your skin and your schedule, remember to keep your eyes properly covered to avoid damage. Believe it or not, your eyes are just as susceptible to the sun as your skin, and since they’re the only eyes you’ve got, it makes good sense to protect them! Invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses that protect against both UV and UVB rays. Wear them at all times while in the sun, including before and immediately after you take a swim.

Seek Shade
When in doubt, try to find as much shade and cover from the sun as you can. We know you can’t avoid heading outdoors altogether in the spring and summer months (and we wouldn’t want you to!), but try to use umbrellas on beach days, and retreat to shady trees and covered picnic tables during midday outings.

Mind Your Medications
Many medications are photosensitive, which means that while you are ingesting them, your skin is increasingly sensitive to the sun’s rays. Check warning labels on your medication packaging, or call your pharmacist or doctor to be sure before heading outdoors. Medications to watch out for are antibiotics, anti-virals, anti-inflammatories, blood pressure medications and St. John’s Wart.