Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage your skin in as few as 15 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While sunlight provides vital vitamin D and can lift our moods, too much sun exposure can raise one’s risk for serious health issues such as premature skin aging, eye damage, a weakened immune system and skin cancer.
Here’s how to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging UV rays and avoid increased risk for skin cancer:
- Wear protective, loose-fitting clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeve shirts. Also, wear a wide-brim hat and 100 percent UV protection sunglasses to safeguard your head and eyes.
- Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 15 or higher about every two hours. Choose a “broad spectrum” sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet A (long wavelength) and ultraviolet B (short wavelength) rays. Use waterproof sunscreen if you plan to swim or expect you will perspire heavily.
- Seek shade whenever possible, but especially during the peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., even on cloudy days and in the wintertime. Check the daily UV Index forecast issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and plan accordingly.
- Examine your skin monthly and get a professional examination once a year to check for any new growths.