the forecasted promise of hot sunny days upon us, it is important to be reminded about sun safety. Being in the sun after being cooped up all winter is exciting, but it is imperative to take precautions when enjoying the outdoors. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Use A Natural or Organic Sunscreen - When choosing a sunscreen, be sure that you are choosing a natural or organic broad spectrum mineral sun block that does not contain nanoparticles, parabens, vitamin A, oxybenzone, fragrance or any other nasty ingredients. And don't forget your lips! They are extra sensitive to the sun's rays. Also remember that your skin is not only vulnerable in the summer months. The sun may not be as strong during the winter, but it can still be damaging. If you will be in the sun for extended periods during the winter months, be sure to apply a sun block. For children 6-months of age and under, keep them out of direct sunlight and keep them shaded as much as possible. Consult a doctor before deciding to use sunscreen for a child under 6-months old.
2. Wear A Hat - I am a hat kinda girl, whether it is sunny or cloudy, it has become a bit of a habit, both for sun protection and because I just like them! A hat with a brim shades and protects the face, scalp and ears. If you are wearing a baseball style cap, be sure to cover up tops of your ears with sunscreen since they are usually overlooked but can burn very easily. For the kids, the best kind of hat for them is one with a wide brim so everything is protected.
3. Sunglasses - The eyes are especially sensitive to UV rays, so aim to always wear sunglasses when out and about in the sun. When buying, make sure the label says that they provide 100% UV protection.
4. Remember That Dark Skin Is Also Vulnerable - It is a big misconception that those with dark skin do not need to wear sunscreen. It is true that dark skin rarely burns, but it can still happen depending on skin tone. Because dark skin contains more melanin than those with lighter skin, the melanin naturally provides some protection from the sun's rays...BUT, it is important to remember that sunscreen protects the skin from harmful UV rays, and that it doesn't only protect it from burning. Long term exposure to UV rays will damage the skin, cause premature wrinkling and even cause skin cancer. Dark skin is not immune to these things.
5. Hang Out In The Shade - Take a break from the rays and heat every now and then and relax in the shade.
6. UV Protective Clothing - This is a good option for those who will be outdoors for long periods of time or for children who just won't sit still to have sunscreen applied and then re-applied. UV protective clothing works by using tight stitching so the rays cannot get through. There are also a few other things that are done to the fabric such as using dyes that will deflect rays. If you are going to invest in UV clothing, be sure to read up on the brand you are buying to be sure that chemical treatments are not used to enhance the UV protection (the chemicals most likely will not be very healthy for you).
7. Pay attention to your city’s daily UV index reports. - If possible, try to stay out of the sun between the hours of 10am and 2pm. During this time, the UV index is at its strongest with the peak being at 12 noon.
By following some, or hopefully all of the suggestions above, you will be taking big steps towards keeping yourself safe from the sun. A big part of summer fun is being in the sun, and it definitely can still be done, just be more mindful about it. Doing these things will make your future self grateful :)
How do you stay safe during the sunny summer months?
Gwen is a mom of 2 and owns/operates Nayla Natural Care, an online store that specializes in carrying the best organic, natural and eco-friendly products.