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Under the Sun

Your Guide to Outdoor Skin and Eye Protection

Summertime means fun in the sun, and it also means it’s time to prepare for the potentially damaging effects of being exposed to the sun’s rays. While we encourage all our patients to spend time outdoors, we also want to help you keep yourself and your loved ones protected from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

What is Ultraviolet Radiation? 

Ultraviolet radiation is non-ionizing radiation emitted from the sun and artificial sources like tanning beds. UV radiation has benefits such as stimulating the production of vitamin D, which in turn increases your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients from food. However, UV radiation can also harm your body. Sunburn, eye diseases, and even cancer are a few common side effects of excessive sun exposure.

Skin Care

Shade

        The most effective way to prevent sun damage to your skin is simply to stay out of direct sunlight. Stay in shaded areas, such as under a tree or umbrella when you are outdoors. Even when it is cloudy outside, you should take precautions to avoid UV rays that can move through overcast skies. If you can, avoid being in the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. since UV rays are at their strongest during this time.

Clothing

Wearing clothing that covers the skin is another simple yet effective way to limit sun exposure. Wearing tightly woven long-sleeve shirts and pants are recommended when practical. When that is not practical, wearing short-sleeve shirts and shorts made of tightly woven fabric offers some protection. Wearing a hat with a wide brim all the way around is also a great way to shade your head and neck from UV rays. 

Sunscreen

Wearing an SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects you from UV rays will help you protect any exposed part of your skin. You should reapply if you are out in the sun for more than 90 minutes, after sweating, and after swimming. Be sure the sunscreen you are using is not expired. Read our article on the different variations of sunscreen here. Using sunscreen labeled ‘broad-spectrum’ is recommended as it can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.

Eye Care

Sunglasses

Wearing Sunglasses is a great way to protect your eyes from UV rays. You should choose a pair of sunglasses that have a UV 400 rating or state that they offer “100 percent UV protection”. 

The darkness of the lenses does not always determine the amount of protection they offer. Lenses with a light-colored tint could offer the same UV protection as a darker lens. Wearing wrap-around sunglasses that cover the sides of your eye can help prevent any light from coming through the side. Even when wearing sunglasses, you should apply sunscreen on your face and wear a wide brim hat to protect your head and neck. 

Harbin Clinic encourages you to spend time outdoors this Summer. However, we want you and your family to stay safe! If you have any questions or notice any changes in your skin or eye health visit Dermatology Rome or eye care at Harbin Clinic

Published August 8, 2022