Summer is a great time to get the family outside and hit the pool, or go hiking, or games in the yard. When the weather is nice, the possibilities are seemingly endless. It’s important to remember a couple of things about sun exposure and heat if you’re going to be outside during the day.
You can be sunburned on a cloudy day.
It may not feel as hot, and the sun may not be directly beaming on you, so you decide to skip the sunblock. Bad move. Because – the type of rays you actually get sunburn from are UV rays. These rays are invisible to the human eye, and they penetrate clouds. So if you decide to skip the sunscreen altogether on a day like this, you’re going to burn worse than you would if the sun were actually out, and you decided to wear sunscreen.
Speaking of UV rays, avoid peak sun intensity hours.
There is a block of time in the middle of the day, when the sun is directly overhead, that UV rays beam down the strongest. This time frame is from 10am to 3 pm (or 11am to 4pm if it’s daylight savings time). If you need to plan outdoor activities, especially with children involved, try to avoid these periods of time. Late afternoon or early morning is best.
Proper sunscreen application is crucial.
If you think you only need to put sunscreen on once and be done with it, you’re going to have a bad time. It is also very important to remember that sunscreen is not lotion. It should not rub in and completely disappear. You should have a white film on your skin – because it takes sunscreen 20-30 minutes to completely absorb. Choose a sunscreen that has a minimum of 15 SPF – if you have fair skin, you’ll want to get 30 or even 50 SPF. Apply sunscreen a half hour before you traipse everyone outside. And once you are out in the sun, reapply every two hours to maintain optimal protection. Also keep in mind that bug repellant can reduce sunscreen’s effectiveness, so you’ll need to reapply a little more often.
Following these sun safety guidelines will ensure that you and your family can go and have a good time outside, without being miserable with sunburn for the rest of the week afterwards. Never wait to see if you’re turning red before applying sunscreen. If you get to that point, it’s already too late, as sunburn typically takes a full day to develop. In case you do get burnt, click here to see how to treat sunburn.