Boating, gardening, sun tanning. Summer is in full swing, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. If you’re anything like us, you’re anxious to head out the door as quickly as possible. But wait, not too fast — soaking up the sun comes with risks. There are plenty of ways to stay protected, but it all starts with education.
Types of UV Radiation:
Think aging, like sun spots, sagging, and wrinkles. UVA rays make their way deep into your skin and eyes, and cause much of the long-term damage we experience from the sun. When it comes to your eyes, too much exposure to UVA rays could result in macular degeneration and cataracts. When it comes to your skin, UVA radiation contributes to skin cancer. While UVA rays are less intense than UVB rays, they’re much more prevalent.
Think burning. UVB rays are responsible for those painful sunburns that not even aloe can soothe. When it comes to your eyes, UVB rays primarily effect the cornea (corneal sunburns) and the lens. When it comes to your skin, UVB rays cause reddening and play a key role in skin cancer.
While UV radiation can cause short-term discomfort and long-term damage, you should not be afraid if you’re taking the proper precautions to protect yourself.
How to Protect Your Skin:
We’re all familiar with SPF. But, do you know what to look for amongst the shelves of sunscreen? SPF measures a sunscreen’s ability to block UV radiation. The higher the SPF, the more protection you’re getting. Here are tips when it comes to sunscreen:
- Use broad-spectrum sunscreen to block both UVA and UVB rays
- Reapply every 2 hours — regardless of SPF
- Wear sunscreen when it’s cloudy (UV rays penetrate through the clouds!)
- Become an everyday sunscreen user
Women, wearing sunscreen everyday can be as simple as applying a moisturizer that contains SPF. To get the full amount of sun protection promised on the label, use 1 ounce of lotion. Many foundations and powders also have SPF. However, this alone is not enough. Most women don’t use enough makeup to reap the benefits of the SPF on the label.
Men, you can get in the habit of wearing sunscreen daily by using an after shave lotion with SPF, but the same rule holds as for women — apply at least 1 ounce.
No SPF can protect against 100% of UV radiation. This means that hats and coverups should also make their ways into your beach bag.
How to Protect Your Eyes:
Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. They can prevent headaches caused by squinting and can protect your eyes from harmful radiation. However, not all sunglasses are created equal. Here’s what you should look for in your next pair of sunglasses or reading sunglasses:
- Lenses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB radiation
- Sunglasses labeled as UV 400 (blocking out wavelengths up to 400 nanometers)
- Properly fitted frames (sunglasses that fit closer to your face as opposed to ones that slide around)
It’s important to remember that UV rays can penetrate through windows. What this means for you is that you should always keep a pair of sunglasses within reach while driving. All of our reading sunglasses meet the above standards so you can shop with confidence.
Now that you know the proper precautions to take to shield against UV radiation, you’re ready to spend the summer in the sun!