When stepping outside, we are always advised to make sure that we (and our skin, especially) are well-protected from the sun. And there is a good reason behind this specific notion.
Excessive sun exposure without adequate protection can lead to a variety of problems - from dehydrated skin and various signs of photoaging including dark spots, blotches, wrinkles roughness and discoloration to more painful health concerns like sunburns, polymorphic light eruption (PMLE), also known as sun poisoning, and even skin cancer.
And yet, our bodies require being exposed to a certain amount of sunshine regularly in order to function optimally. Sun exposure boosts the body’s ability to produce vitamin D naturally. This particular vitamin is essential for us as it helps with better sleep, stronger bone density, increased serotonin (also known as the happy hormone), improved immune response and more.
So now that we understand why sun exposure is a necessity, let’s take a look at a few protective measures so you can soak the sun without facing any of the pitfalls.
1.Wear sunscreen every day
This is an absolute non-negotiable (yes, even on cloudy days and when you are indoors). We recommend choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Make sure it is water-resistant and has an SPF of 50 at least.
When using sunscreen, do not forget to apply it to all exposed areas, paying particular attention to the face, ears, hands and arms, which are sometimes overlooked or not properly covered.
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2. Reapply your SPF
When you’re outdoors for an extended period of time, make sure you reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours. In fact, if you are sweating a lot or swimming, re-apply every 1 hour. So it’s best to carry sunscreen with you when you know you'll be spending time outdoors.
3. Pay attention to the daily UV index
Local weather forecasts often include the daily UV index. This index estimates the risk of overexposure from the sun on a scale of 1 to 11+ and the higher the number, the greater the risk. In case of a higher UV index or a UV alert, be extra cautious and try to remain indoors as much as possible.
4. Limit sun exposure at specific hours
If you have the option to choose your hours when stepping out, select a time when the sun is not at its peak. The ultraviolet rays, which cause sunburn, are strongest between 10 AM to 3 PM, so if you can avoid this timeframe, do so.
5. Cover up
If possible, wear clothing that covers you well, like a full-sleeved shirt and long pants. Also, keep in mind that clothes that are dark in colour and ones made of tightly-woven fabrics provide way better protection than light or loosely woven fabrics.
You can wear a hat that provides shade to your face, neck, and ears and pair it up with sunglasses. When purchasing sunglasses, you can look for ones with lenses that have 99% to 100% UV absorption. They provide optimal protection for the eyes and the surrounding skin.
So there you have it. You and your body need the sun. It’s not just good for your physical well-being but also for your mental health. Apart from all the benefits listed above, sometimes we all just need to be out there getting that fresh air to feel in touch with ourselves. So don’t let the fear of the sun keep you from going out and about your day. Soak up that sunshine in all its glory; just do it the right way.