17 Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun

Dr. Clayton Lawrence, CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on overall wellness in an otherwise toxic world. (Always consult with your own physician before beginning any new diet/exercise routine).

Last week, we shared a few light and nutritious picnic dishes (if you missed it, you can find it here). The summer months are such a great time for loading up on fresh, organically grown veggies and fruits that are packed with vitamins and minerals. In addition, warmer weather means more time spent outdoors in the sunshine, where our skin better manufactures much-needed Vitamin D.

Its benefits are numerous, including an improved mood, better sleep, more energy and healthier bones. Without a doubt, getting out and into the sunshine, even for just a little bit every day, is one of the best ways to get a healthy dose of this critical vitamin, but that doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. The sun can be incredibly damaging to our skin and overall health. It is important to take measures to keep skin healthy and protected.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when spending time in the sun:

Using sunscreen does not lead to Vitamin D insufficiency.

The sun is at its worst in terms of UVB radiation between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., so avoid direct exposure during these times.

Cloudy days may help reduce UV radiation, but skin damage can still occur.

Choosing lip balms with SPF can help prevent damage to the lips.

Wearing sunglasses decreases the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye diseases and conditions.

Drinking plenty of water helps keep the body hydrated and flushed of toxins.

Consider wearing a wide-brim hat, which can offer protection for the sensitive skin of the face and areas that may be forgotten for sunscreen.

Loose-fitting long sleeves and pants offer the same protection as a wide-brim hat during the sun’s peak times.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours while outdoors. Perspiration, swimming or misting all can wash away what was previously applied.

Don’t forget about protecting the ears and tops of the hands and feet.

Look for the words “broad spectrum” on sunscreen products, which means protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

If you wear makeup, consider looking for products that offer UV protection.

Take a look at your prescriptions to be sure sun sensitivity isn’t a side effect and if it is, take proper precautions.

Choose safe sunscreens that are mineral-based or non-nano. The chemicals in some popular brands can have a negative effect on various hormones.

Retreat to shade if your skin begins to show signs of burning, like redness, peeling or blistering.

Become familiar with your skin and report any changes to your doctor or dermatologist. The earlier the better!

Instill healthy sun habits early on by applying sunscreen each time a child is outdoors.