Sun Safety Tips
Enjoy Spending Time Outdoors
Following these sun safety tips and wearing clothes with sun protection will reduce your risk of developing any health problems related to overexposure to the sun and allow you to spend your time more safely outdoors.
This is especially important when you are travelling, as most of us spend more time outdoors when on vacation than we normally do. Actually many of us go on holiday to do exactly that, e.g. beach vacation, skiing holidays, hiking trips... even city break can involve wandering the streets all day long.
Why Take Sun Safety Precautions?
We would not exist without sunlight. A small amount of the sun's ultraviolet radiation (UV) is beneficial for us and indeed essential in the production of vitamin D. Access to sunlight can also affect our mental outlook, e.g. many people are more prone to depression during the darker winter months.
On the other hand, overexposure to the sun's UV rays can cause various immediate health problems as well as various health problems that can develop years later.
Severe sunburn can result in sun poisoning, heatstroke, sun allergy and vision problems. It can also increase your risk of developing skin cancer, cold sores, lupus, cataracts and skin changes. These are all solid reasons for taking Sun Safety tips seriously.
Sun Safety Tips
By following these practical sun safety tips, you can reduce your risk of developing any health problems related to overexposure to the sun.
Where Are You Going?
Where you are travelling can affect how much precautions you should take. The closer you are to the equator (latitude), the more direct sunlight you get, e.g. southern US gets 1.5 times more sunlight than the northern US.
Altitude does also matter. In the mountains, UV radiation levels increases about 10% for every 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) in altitude. High altitudes and fresh snow can double your exposure to UV radiation. Sun safety tips recommend taking extra precautions if you are skiing or mountaineering, and use special sunscreen for high altitude.
Water, white sand, concrete as well as snow and ice reflect the sun's rays and can cause sunburns quicker than other surfaces. You should take extra precautions if your vacation includes these risk factors, e.g. when going on a beach vacation or on a skiing holiday.
The season you are travelling in, does also affect your sun exposure, i.e. the summer sun can cause more severe sunburn.
Know The UV Index For Your Destination
Knowing the UV index for your destination will advice you how much precaution you must take while on your vacation. Sun safety tips recommend checking the UV Index Forecast for your travel destination prior to travelling.
Limit Your Time In The Sun
The higher the sun is in the sky, the higher the UV radiation level is. This means that the UV radiation levels vary throughout the day as well as the time of year. Outside the tropics, the highest levels occur when the sun is at its maximum elevation, i.e. around noon during the summer months.
This is why all sun safety tips advice you to avoid the midday sun. You are most likely to be sunburned between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon when the sunrays are the strongest. This is why taking a siesta is such a good idea!
Ps. do not forget that you can be sunburned on cloudy days... it is very common to forget to take necessary precautions when we do not actually see the sun.
Look For Shades
Always be on the lookout for shades when out and about. Walk on the shadow side of the road and rest under trees or parasol. Hand held parasols are good idea when walking - you can use your umbrella if you do not own special parasol.
Wear Sun Protection Clothing
Wearing sun protective clothing is the best way to protect your skin. It works better than covering your skin with normal clothes or covering your body with sunscreen. Clothing with sun protection should offer minimum rating of UPF 30. Read our practical Guide To Sun Protective Clothing.
Sun protection hat protects your face and head, and plays an important role in your overall sun protection, i.e. combined with your sun protection clothing and sunscreen.
The best sun protection hats, i.e. that give the maximum sun protection, should have UPF rating of at least 50 and hat brim that is at least 3 inches (7.7 cm) or more. Any hat is though better than no hat at all. Read our Guide To Sun Protection Hats, bying advice and Top Travel Tips selection of top 5 sun protection hats.
Use Sunscreen - Generously And Frequently
Sun safety tips recommend using sunscreen in addition to your sun protection clothing, not instead of it. Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater. The higher the sun protection factor is the longer the protection will last.
Top Travel Sun Safety Tips
Sun damage accumulates so it is never too early, nor too late, to start taking necessary sun safety precautions.
Apply sunscreen to all parts of your body that are exposed. Start about an inch under the ends of your sleeves and trousers legs.
If you use makeup or insect repellent, wear your sunscreen underneath, i.e. apply the sunscreen first on your skin.
Apply the sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going out in the sun to allow the chemicals to have time to be absorbed into your skin. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
Unfortunately, most people do not apply enough sunscreen lotion and frequently forget to re-apply it. Where Sun Protection Products are concerned, more is really more, so apply sunscreen generously, as well as frequently, over all exposed skin areas.
Make sure your sunscreen has not expired as it loses function over time.
Protect Your Eyes
Sunglasses are essential for preventing sun damage to your eyes. The most important thing to consider when choosing sunglasses is the amount of UV rays they block.
Look for at least 98% UV protection, i.e. blocks 98% of the UVA and UVB rays. Never go for anything vague like... UV absorbing or blocks most UV light. Bear in mind that darker glasses do not necessarily mean more protection.
For the best protection look for sunglasses that block all UV radiation, i.e. offer 100% UV protection or up to 400 nanometers.
It is also important that your sunglasses protect your eyes from all angles, so look for wraparound sunglasses or sunglasses with side panels for the best protection.
Pay Special Attention To Your Children
Children are special risk group as extended sun exposure during childhood increases the risk of skin cancer later in life and can cause serious damage to the eyes. Children under the age of 15 have also more sensitive skin and eyes than adults.
Most of the lifetime UV exposure occurs before the age of 18 as children tend to play outdoors. It is therefore vital that parents and other guardians protect their children from the sun and teach them necessary sun safety tips.
Teach them to play in the shade, wear sun protection clothing, use sunscreen, and encourage them to take break during midday.
Children under one year of age must never stay in direct sun.