Happy National UV Month! July is a month dedicated to educating yourself and protecting your skin from damage that can occur from the sun.
UV rays come in three forms: UVA, UVB, and UVC. These rays can have different effects on the skin. UVC rays never come through the atmosphere and do not come in the form of sunlight. However, UVA and UVB rays have been known to cause damage to skin cells which can result in sunburn and wrinkles or as much as skin cancer. No UV rays are safe to the skin without protection!
Wearing sunscreen and protecting your skin is incredibly important to your long-term and short-term health! Understanding how to protect yourself from UV rays properly is extremely beneficial. A few tips to remember about UV rays are that they are strongest in the daytime (most likely from 10 AM to 4 PM) in the summer and spring seasons and if you are on a higher elevation, the rays will be stronger. Also, keep in mind that UV rays reflect differently off different surfaces which can increase their strength.
It is never too late to start protecting your skin! If you work outside or spend a lot of time outdoors it's important to get in the routine of taking care of your skin or else your at a higher risk of skin cancer. There are many different ways to protect yourself. One of the most important ways to do so is by always applying sunscreen. You can find sunscreen in many forms: sprays, lotions, creams, etc. Wearing sunscreen every day is the first step to creating a healthier relationship with your skin and the sun. Second, if you can find the shade, stay in it. By staying out of the direct sunlight you are protecting yourself while still being able to spend time outdoors. Lastly, wear clothing that can protect you! Find sunglasses that are made to block UV rays, wear a hat, and wear long-sleeves, pants, or long skirts if you are able to. Remember that these ways to protect yourself from harmful rays may not always 100% work and save you from a sunburn. If you feel like you could be getting burnt with just sunscreen on, head inside or try to get in the shade until the rays are less powerful.
Sunburns are immediate but sun damage is something that will happen and build throughout your lifetime. Stay out of tanning beds and remember to check the UV rate on your weather app if you can! Knowing how to protect yourself before any permanent damage is done is so important. Following the tips above will help prevent sunburns and can lessen the risk of getting skin cancer to create a healthier lifestyle in the sun.