baby at beach

Citation: ©[nadezhda1096]/Adobe Stock

As the weather warms up, it is natural to want to spend your days outside making up for lost time. But while the sun feels nice, exposure to its rays can lead to multiple health issues such as skin cancer, lowered immune system, vision loss, and premature aging. To avoid these negative effects, here are five ways to protect yourself from the sun.

Apply Sunscreen

When spending time in the sun, it is important to apply 1 ounce of sunscreen to all exposed skin every two hours to reduce skin damage—especially after swimming or physical activity. The sunscreen you use should be broad spectrum so that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. In addition, it should have an SPF of at least 30 and be water-resistant. Always make sure to check the expiration date to ensure that your sunscreen will protect you.

Limit Exposure

Since sunscreen merely works as a filter and doesn’t completely block all UV rays, limiting the time you spend outside is the only way to fully protect yourself from the sun’s harmful effects. It is most important to seek shade or spend time indoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Remember that just because it is cold and cloudy out doesn’t mean that the sun won’t harm your skin.

Wear Protective Clothing

Wearing wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves, and pants when spending time in the sun will help prevent skin damage. In general, dark-colored clothing that has tightly-woven fabric is typically the most protective. For a lighter and more colorful option, some stores offer clothing that is specifically designed to protect against UV exposure—even when wet.

Avoid Tanning Oils

You should avoid tanning oils at all cost as they amplify the sun’s negative impact on your skin. The change in your skin’s pigment that you see when you tan is the result of a change in your DNA due to exposure from dangerous ultraviolet rays. While some people believe that using tanning oils to build a base tan will help prevent sunburn in the future, this is a myth.

Wear Sunglasses

By not properly protecting your eyes from the sun, you greatly increase your chances of developing health issues such as cataracts, vision loss, and skin cancer on the delicate skin around your eyes. To avoid these problems, wear sunglasses that have 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection as they will block both forms of ultraviolet rays. For optimal protection, try to find large-framed wraparound sunglasses as they will prevent light from coming in through different angles.