Safe sun tips for outdoor lovers

Baird Outdoor lovers

A few weeks back, we wrote about minimizing skin cancer risks. These were great basic tips for everyone. But what if you’re someone who truly lives to be outdoors – hiking, running, kayaking, skiing, ice fishing – all of it? Scorching sun? No problem. Below freezing? Bring it. How do you enjoy all the outdoor activities you love, while still protecting your skin?

Here’s the obvious first answer – sunscreen. Apply early, liberally and often. If you’re going to be in the water, use one with a higher water resistance.

Beyond that, remember to wear sunglasses. The sun can do damage to your eyes as well as your skin. Wearing sunglasses helps protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays, and also the sensitive skin around your eyes. Choose sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses aren’t just for sunny days either, remember to wear them on overcast days, especially any time you’re on or near the water to protect your eyes from reflected light.

Lightweight, long sleeved fabrics, also provide great protection from the sun. Also gaining popularity are fabrics and outdoor clothing with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating. A UPF rating is specifically for apparel, and like sunscreen’s SPF rating, the higher the UPF rating, the more effective the garment is in protecting you from the sun. Many manufacturers are catering to the sports enthusiast market with UPF rated clothing for your specific interest. Have a hard time remembering to reapply sunscreen? There are fitness shirts, hats, jackets, swimwear and more that are cool, comfortable and specifically designed for protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

Consider the time of day when planning your outdoor activities. Choose early morning or later in the evening to avoid the hours between 10am and 2pm when the sun’s rays are strongest. Choose shaded areas under awnings or trees if your activity allows, or consider other means of shade (such as a beach umbrella) if it’s possible to set up your own equipment.

Remember that skin protection is not just for warm weather, either. The sun’s reflection off of ice and snow means that everyone from skiers, snowboarders, ice fishermen and sledders also need sunscreen and eye protection.

Minimizing Skin Cancer Risks

 

Baird Sun protection

Now that warm weather is here, many of us are spending more time outdoors exercising or taking care of yard work. Whether spending the day outside, or just taking care of a few chores, it’s important to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Depending on your skin tone, even just a few minutes can cause damage to your skin. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Always use Sunscreen. This may seem obvious, but over and over again, people get sunburned because they intend to spend just a few minutes outside, and a few hours later, return to the indoors with bright pink skin that will be burning in a few hours. Make it a habit, every time you go outside, to apply a broad-spectrum, high SPF sunscreen. And reapply according to the directions on the sunscreen – more often when exercising or in the water.

Don’t forget about a hat. Not only does a hat help keep the sun out of your eyes, but a wide brimmed hat also provides an extra layer of protection to the skin on your face and neck. If you find yourself without a hat – at an outdoor event, for example – an umbrella could also help shield your skin from the sun.

Lightweight, long sleeved fabrics, also provide great protection from the sun. Lightweight fabrics such as linen are not only comfortable, but will provide an extra sun barrier. While not practical for some activities, they are an ideal option for many activities and provide great sun protection.

Monitoring moles and skin tags for signs of change or discoloration is key to early detection. Make a yearly checkup to get your moles examined for any suspicious changes or color.

Avoid tanning beds. Like sunscreen, this may seem obvious, but many people turn to tanning beds this time of year for a “base tan.” Unfortunately, many think that a base tan will protect them from sunburns later in the year. That’s simply not the case, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection.

Finally, don’t forget about your eyes. The sun can do damage to your eyes as well. Wearing sunglasses helps protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays, and also the sensitive skin around your eyes. Choose sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays – and don’t think you have to spend a fortune, either. A recent report by NBC’s Jeff Rossen revealed that the cheaper, drug store sunglasses protect eyes just as well as the expensive designer sunglasses. The key? Look for a sticker that says “100 percent UV protection” or “UV 400” for the best bet for protecting your eyes.