Summer is a time when you can enjoy the great outdoors. It’s a time when you can take advantage of much appreciated sunshine which can be beneficial for your overall health and well-being when done in moderation. However, over recent decades, doctors have become increasingly aware of the risks people take when going out in the sun without protecting themselves from the sun’s UV rays.
The sun’s rays carry ultraviolet radiation which can damage your skin and this includes suffering sunburn, premature ageing which sees you developing wrinkles and age spots. These UV rays can cause permanent blinding, damage to your eyes and can result in melanoma and skin cancer. On top of this, many people are on medication which they take on a daily basis and this makes them extremely sensitive to effects of the sun. Doctors everywhere, particularly in the United Kingdom, now believe that people need to be educated when it comes to sun protection with an end goal being to prevent the risk of an epidemic of sun-related diseases occurring, more especially skin cancer.
You can still enjoy the sun as long as you take measures to stay safe and protect yourself. One of the first measures is to use the right type of sunscreen which typically contains a mixture of ingredients that both absorb ultraviolet radiation and reflect or block ultraviolet radiation away from your skin. Today, there are many options available when it comes to sunscreens which includes creams, mousses, lotions and moisturisers.
The strength of a sunscreen is measured by SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor. This determines the level of protection against ultraviolet radiation. Sunscreens with SPF 15 protect against 93 per cent of ultraviolet radiation while those with SPF 30 offer 97 per cent protection. Sunscreens should be applied all over the body 20 minutes before going out in the sun and should be re-applied every 2 hours thereafter if you want to remain in the sun.
In addition, Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the best time to go out in the sun is before 11:00 am and after 3:00 pm because the 4 hours in-between are when the sun’s rays are the most harmful. The PHE has nine broadband UV instruments networked across the UK which provide UV index graphs. These are operated in real-time which can be referenced for specific cities in the United Kingdom.
Another new concept regarding sun safety involves sun protection clothing. Regular summer clothes tend to let in a great deal of ultraviolet radiation and expose a lot of skin to the sun. Sun protection clothing typically covers more skin than regular summer clothing but it is cool and comfortable to wear. It provides constant protection from ultraviolet radiation and unlike sunscreens, it does not wear off during the day. It is much less messy than sunscreen which can be an added bonus for mothers with young children.
There are also special umbrellas which are used for the sole purpose of sun protection. They boast a denser weave than conventional umbrellas that you use when it is raining. These umbrellas are also typically lined on the inside with a dark fabric which helps absorb ultraviolet radiation.
In addition to direct ultraviolet radiation, there is indirect ultraviolet radiation which occurs when the sun’s rays are reflected off surfaces like water, sand, white paint on buildings, or concrete. In short, even if you use an umbrella at a beach, your skin could still be burned from the ultraviolet radiation that is reflected off the water or sand. Therefore, you may need additional shading like a canvas cabana when you are on the beach which could help block this indirect ultraviolet radiation. Try to find accommodation with awnings over windows which help cut down heat levels in the interior of buildings and which block ultraviolet radiation. The best ones are made of solid, outdoor roofing materials.
By following these measures and using the online tools provided, you can be sure that you are taking appropriate steps to avoid the health risks associated with the sun, yet still be able to enjoy the benefits of being outside in the sun.
Edited by Honey 17/1/2020