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Steps to Prevent Sun Damage

4 simple ways to avoid the sun’s harsh rays!

The summer months are an exciting time to take advantage of the world around us. Vacations, picnics, swimming, and outdoor sports are just some seasonal highlights. Although you should enjoy your time outside, remember to take precautions against sun damage. The sun releases UV — or ultra-violet — rays that can increase your chances of skin cancer, premature wrinkles, and cataracts.

The sun’s rays are harmful during all seasons. However, more people suffer from sun-related damage during the summer months. You can help avoid these sun-related health issues by paying attention to the strength of the sunlight and the amount of time you spend in the sun.

At Branford Hall, we want our students to stay safe in the sun year-round, so we’re offering four simple steps to help protect yourself from sun damage.

1. Lather up on sunscreen

Sunscreen is one of the most common ways to protect yourself from the sun. Purchase a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sun lotion or spray that contains sun protection factor, known as SPF. An SPF of 15 or higher is essential for protecting yourself from 93% of UV rays. Apply the lotion at least thirty minutes before going outside so the ingredients are fully absorbed into your skin. Wait approximately 30 to 45 minutes before going swimming so protection won’t wash off in the water. It’s also important to remember to reapply every couple hours throughout the day. For women, apply sunscreen onto your face 30 minutes before applying makeup. However, anyone can apply sun screen each day to prevent the premature aging caused from sun damage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers a list of basic ways to protect your children from the sun.

2. Cover your skin

Wherever there is sun, your chances of sun damage increases. Even when you drive in the car, you should wear sunscreen on your hands and face. Cover up exposed skin and sensitive areas. While sheer clothing allows sunlight in, tightly-woven clothing helps block sunlight. If you can see your hand behind a layer of clothing, then it will offer you poor protection from the sun. If it’s too hot and you don’t feel like covering up, then make sure to wear sunscreen. You should protect the top of your head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat which will also protect your face, eyes, and neck.

3. Wear UV lenses

Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when you’re outside. Sun exposure can weaken your eye sight and cause long-term damage like cataracts. Purchase a pair of sunglasses that are labeled with a 100 percent guarantee of UV protection, also called UV 400. A pair of sunglasses doesn’t have to be expensive, but make sure you purchase a pair that gives your eyes full coverage.

4. Limit your sun exposure

One of the best ways to prevent sun damage is to limit your sun exposure. Of course it’s unrealistic to avoid the sun altogether, so when you’re outside try standing in the shade while you wear a hat and sunscreen. When you’re at the beach cover yourself with a towel or sit under a beach umbrella. UV rays are most harmful during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. When your shadow is shorter, the sun is at its strongest. During these mid-day hours, avoid the time you spend outside.

If you’d like more information on skin cancer prevention, The American Cancer Society provides you with facts, communities, and tips. Also visit the Centers for Disease Control for further advice on sun damage.

Following these tips can help you enjoy your summer and prevent any long-term damage the sun has on your health. Branford Hall wishes you a happy, fun, and healthy summer!

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Branford Hall Career Institute offers health and wellness advice, career-focused guidance, and student tips in its weekly blog. For information on our various career training programs, contact us today or schedule a tour!

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