Summer is here, and it’s time for fun in the sun! Whether you relax on the beach or go for a long hike, time spent outdoors benefits your mind and body. However, too much sun exposure can quickly ruin a good thing and increase your risk of sun damage, premature skin aging, and skin cancer. While planning your next summer vacation, add these UV safety tips to your itinerary and bring home memories instead of a sunburn.

Seek Shade During Peak Sun Hours

Ultraviolet (UV) Rays are strongest during peak sun hours between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1). During those hours, it is a good idea to find adequate shade and limit time in direct sunlight. Bring an umbrella or have ample shade available. Be extra mindful of areas with water and sand, which reflect the sun’s rays. Don’t forget you can still be exposed to UV rays on cloudy days, too! Consider morning or evening activities that will help avoid peak sun hours and busy crowds.

Apply and Reapply Sunscreen

Apply sunscreen before going outside. The Skin Cancer Foundation2 recommends “A broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.” Be sure to apply it on all exposed skin, including those typically forgotten areas like the tops of feet, ears, and lips. Reapply every two hours or sooner if you have been in water or sweat heavily. Remember, water-resistant sunscreen doesn’t mean waterproof, so you’ll still want to reapply often.

Choose Sunglasses with UV Protection

Sunglasses with UV protection will help safeguard your eyes, especially near water or sand where sun rays are more reflective. Just because sunglasses have a dark tint doesn’t mean they offer the necessary protection. The FDA3 recommends sunglasses with a UV400 rating or “100% UV protection.” Sunglasses with these labels will block over 99% of UVA and UVB radiation. Check to ensure that children’s sunglasses also have adequate UV protection.

Stay Hydrated

Time spent in heat and sunlight can increase sweating and dehydration. Keep water handy during all outdoor activities. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after your time outside. If you are participating in prolonged exercise or experiencing profuse sweating, you may want to consider an electrolyte replacement, such as a sports drink.

Cover Up

While sunscreen and shade can be helpful shields from the sun, the best protection is to cover up exposed skin. Choose light, breathable clothing like a sarong or long-sleeved UV shirt. Wear a hat to avoid a sunburnt scalp. Consider choosing a hat with a wide brim for even more face, neck, and ear protection.

Stay safe and healthy in the heat this summer. Remember these tips as you pack, and revisit them often on your trip. Happy travels!

Continue Reading July 2024 Newsletter: Enhancing Your Sleep Routine for Better Rest