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Seven Tips for Having Safe Fun in the Sun

Whether you’re a sun-worshipper or you prefer the shady comfort of an umbrella or patio cover, you’ll want to take a few precautions when spending any time in the sun this summer

Enjoying the warmth and comfort of the sun’s rays can be quite pleasant – plus, it is a great way to boost the levels of Vitamin D in the body. But spending too much time outdoors without taking adequate precautions can be a recipe for real health concerns. If you’re looking forward to having fun in the sun this spring and summer, consider the following seven tips to make your time outdoors as healthy as possible:

Minimize direct exposure: While it feels great to let the sun shine on your back when by the pool, or to drop the top in the convertible when cruising down the highway, you’ll want to consciously minimize the amount of time that you are directly exposed to sunlight. Seek a shady spot when possible, and remain aware that surfaces like sand, glass, and water can and do reflect light right back onto your exposed skin.

Cover your head: While you’ll certainly need to pair your choice of outfit to your particular surroundings, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and generously-sized sunglasses can do wonders to protect your face from the dangers of UV rays. Pick your sunglasses wisely as they are not all constructed using protective materials, and consider a hat that offers a tight weave and a comfortable fit.

Use sunscreen: While the latest craze in high-SPF sunscreens represents little more than a new marketing angle for the major manufacturers, you’ll want to select a product that is rated at 15-20 SPF or greater. This refers to the timeframe in which the sunscreen will protect the skin, as long as you reapply at least every two hours or after being exposed to water. Nothing hurts quite like a sunburn, and the damaging effects of UV burns can trigger other, more serious health issues.

Drive smart: While most of us tend to be off the major roads between the hours of 10am and 4pm, some must venture out and complete errands, doctor visits, or other tasks. The problem is, this time of day is the worst for UV exposure when in a car, as the peak rays of the sun can shine powerfully through the windows and windshield of a vehicle. Many an individual has received a sunburn while simply commuting to work in the late morning – unaware of the potency of these rays.

Visit a Dermatologist: Just as you complete regular physicals and checkups to maintain optimal health, you may want to put the Dermatologist on your calendar to uncover any skin-related health issues early on. Visit at least once per year to reinforce the importance of good skincare.

Eat well: By keeping your body properly nourished and your systems hydrated, you’ll protect the largest organ you have – your skin! Healthy skin is better able to stand up to the ravages of the sun, and it will more easily repair itself when exposed to harmful UV rays. A healthy diet often correlates to a much lower risk of skin cancer.

Don’t allow yourself to burn: While this seems like an obvious tip, some individuals feel that a sunburn is a quick route to a healthy-looking tan. In fact, the absolute opposite is true. A sunburn causes significant and lasting damage to the skin that can eventually lead to cancer, melanoma, and other deadly health issues.

Enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer, and do so in a healthy and conscientious manner that can minimize the ravages of the sun’s rays.