Sunscreen is an essential part of protecting your skin from the sun. But there are areas of the body that are difficult, if not impossible to apply sunscreen to. You can greatly reduce your chances of skin cancer and photoaging by following these simple rules when it comes to having fun in the sun.
Wear Clothing to Protect as Much Skin as Possible
- Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts are the most protective.
- Dark colors provide more protection than light colors by preventing more UV rays from reaching your skin.
- A tightly woven fabric provides greater protection than loosely woven clothing. If you can see light through a
- fabric, UV rays can get through, too.
- Dry fabric is generally more protective than wet fabric.
Wear a Hat
A hat with at least a three- to four-inch brim all around is ideal because it protects areas often exposed to the sun, such as the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.
A shade cap, which looks like a baseball cap with about 7 inches of material draping down the sides and back, is also good
A baseball cap provides some protection for the front and top of the head but not the back of the neck or the ears, where skin cancers commonly develop. Be sure to use sunscreen on those areas.
Research has shown that long hours in the sun without adequate eye protection increase the chances of developing eye disease. UV-absorbent sunglasses can help protect your eyes from sun damage.
The ideal sunglasses do not have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation. Ideally, all types of eyewear, including prescription glasses and contact lenses should absorb the entire UV spectrum. When purchasing eyewear be sure to ask for a lens that will protect your eye from UV light. Read the label and look for the amount of UV protection provided. If there is no label, don't buy the sunglasses.
Tips for Buying Sunglasses
- Darker glasses are not necessarily better. UV protection comes from achemical applied to the lenses, not the darkness of the lenses.
- Large-framed wraparound sunglasses protect your eyes from all angles.
- Children need smaller versions of real, protective adult sunglasses - not toy sunglasses.