Things are slowly but increasingly returning to a sense of normal. Summer and Fall concerts are planned, outdoor activities like races and sporting events are opening, restaurants, personal care, and other activities are at various open levels.
Regardless of what your summer plans look like, it’s essential to know the risks associated with too much sun exposure.
Sunlight can have many benefits associated with exposure, but too much sunlight can lead to some significant health risks.
First, let’s discuss the benefits of sunlight.
Sunlight can provide the body the added impetus to release Vitamin D, a significant vitamin that enhances the immune system.
Additionally, mental health may improve from regular sun exposure as sunlight causes the body to release more serotonin in the brain.
This neural chemical regulates moods, and when serotonin levels are off, it has been linked to mood and emotional issues ranging from depression to schizophrenia.
Other benefits from mild sun exposure include:
- Stronger bones
- Improved skin and healing
- Some types of cancer protection
- It has been shown to aid with chronic conditions from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), thyroiditis, and others
In general, however, too much sun exposure can lead to significant health issues.
The most apparent concern is sunburns of various degrees of severity. Sunburns are caused by too many Ultraviolet B rays that are shallower and affect the top of the skin instead of UVA rays that penetrate deeper into the skin and reach internal organs.
Too much overexposure contributes to dry, leathery skin due to the damage to the skin’s cells and collagen levels, which is an essential protein for skin elasticity and blood clotting.
With more concerns for your health than benefits, what can you do to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays?
It’s recommended to have a strategy for every time you step outside, whether it’s to take in a sporting event, concert, picnic, or even going from your house to the store or gym.
To protect yourself, consider limiting your time outdoors. This strategy is especially hard coming out of the pandemic, especially with recent guideline updates released by the Center for Disease Control.
With warmer weather comes more interest to spend time outdoors. To do so safely, there are five main tips to aid you in enjoying your time, reap the most benefits, and avoid the potential risks associated with too much sun exposure.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and protecting it from too much sun should be a strategy that includes covering as much of yourself outdoors as possible. You should plan to cover as much of your body from head to toe as possible. There are newly designed fabrics that will minimize the sun exposure risk, but you also need to consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat covering your head, neck, and shoulders.
Apply The Proper Sunscreen
Not all sunscreens are the same. While any protection is better than nothing, you want to find a sunscreen that is:
- Broad-spectrum: A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects from both harmful UVA and UVB type rays.
Has a high SPF: SPF stands for sun-protection formula. The higher the number indicates, the longer you may be in direct sunlight without reapplying. It’s essential to reapply before the recommended time as external factors such as sweat will minimize the protection.
- Waterproof: Waterproof Sunscreen will last longer on the skin, so whether you’re in and out of the water or just at the park, consider using a waterproof sunscreen for better protection.
- Skin sensitivity: Some ingredients in sunscreen may affect different people. Find a sunscreen developed for skin sensitivity to guarantee you don’t have any extreme skin reactions.
Play In The Shade
Shade provides additional sun protection, so consider playing and relaxing in a shaded area.
You can find shade on the sides of buildings, trees, and tall objects, or you can choose to purchase a temporary canopy or any type of inflatable dome tent that you can quickly prop up and get using.
Pop-ups are essential if you plan on having little ones outdoors for any extended time.
Now that the pandemic appears to be a little more under control, whether you plan to attend a significant event or simply spend more time outdoors, knowing how to protect yourself is essential to your enjoyment and health.
Avoid large unmasked gatherings, take proper sun protection procedures, and most of all, take it all if for fun it provides.