We all need some sun exposure; it's our primary source of vitamin D, which helps us absorb calcium for stronger, healthier bones. But it doesn't take much time for most people to get the vitamin D they need. Unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression and even cancer.
With the right precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
Limit Time in the Midday Sun
The sun's rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Whenever possible, limit exposure to the sun during these hours.
Staying under cover is a good way to protect yourself from the sun. Remember the shadow rule: Watch Your Shadow. No Shadow, Seek Shade!
Always Use Sunscreen
Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 or higher and use a lot wherever your skin is showing. Reapply every two hours when working or playing outdoors. Even waterproof sunscreen can come off when you towel off, sweat, or spend extended periods of time in the water.
Wear a Hat
A hat with a wide brim offers god sun protection to your eyes, ears, face, and the back of your neck - areas particularly prone to overexposure to the sun.
Wearing tightly woven, loose-fitting, and full length clothing is a good way to protect your skin from the sun's UV rays.
Wear Sunglasses that Block 99 - 10% of UV Radiation
Sunglasses that provide 99 - 100% UVA and UVB protection will greatly reduce sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage. Check the label when buying sunglasses.
Avoid Sunlamps and Tanning Parlors
The light source from sunbeds and sunlamps damages the skin and unprotected eyes. It's a good idea to avoid artificial sources of UV light.
Watch for the UV Index
The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and EPA, the UV Index is issued daily in selected cities across the United States.