The sun is essential to human life. There are two types of ultraviolet rays UVA and UVB that we need to know about. Each one causes specific damage to all of us if we do not protect ourselves. It is important to note the unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, and even skin cancer. So what does the sun radiate or shine down to us? It’s simple, the sun radiates light to earth and a good part part of the light is in the form of invisible ultraviolet rays. These UV rays are what cause our skin to burn, tan, sun spots and sorts of other skin damage if not protected. UVA rays are responsible for melanoma, sun spots, and even can cause rapid aging of the skin. UV rays are strongest during summer and if you live close to the equator where the sun is the most powerful extra protection is needed. It is also important to note that if you are near the beach or the pool the sun reflects off the water which can intensify the rays so always protect yourself.
If you watch the weather report before you head outside you will see that very often then mention the UV levels throughout the day. We are especially careful when we go to the beach to be there nice and early to try to avoid the peak time. Between the hours of 10am and 3pm are thought to be the highest chance of exposing yourself to the highest concentration of UV Rays. And, just because it is cloudy and the sun is not out does not mean that the UV rays are still not hurting you. If anything, you need to even more vigilant when it is cloudy because you cannot feel the rays on your skin so your chance of sunburn increases. We always travel with an umbrella or pop up tent when we know we are going to be outside in the peak times. Always take a break from the sun and reapply sunblock especially if you are in and out for the water a lot.
Sunblock is essential for everyone that will be exposed. Look for SPF of 30 or higher and choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. I always have to fight my kids on this but make sure you apply the sunblock at least 15 minutes before going outside. I always follow the EWG sunscreen list that they put out every year. Sunscreen chemicals approved in Europe but not by the FDA provide up to five times more UVA protection. The best sunscreen by far is a hat and a shirt. That way, no chemicals are present so they cannot absorb through the skin. If there is no way to stop your skin from being exposed to the sun then, use EWG’s top-rated sunscreens to provide broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB-sunburn) protection with fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin. Sunscreen and sunblock makers are awaiting FDA approval for a wider selection of UVA-blocking chemicals. Did you know that all top-rated products contain either zinc or titanium minerals to help cut UVA exposures for sunscreen users. What are we putting on our skin?