Here Comes the Sun : Protecting Yourself From Its Rays

Summer is soon approaching, and after spending most of our time cooped up inside, patiently waiting for the seasons to change, most of us are ready to get outside and soak up loads of wonderful vitamin D provided by the sun’s rays. Not only does it feel good to be outside, sunlight has many benefits, including treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), regulation of body temperature, enhancing mood and releasing endorphins, plus many more.

While the sun can be good for us, the fact remains that we need to protect ourselves from the powerful UV rays it emits. While UV rays have been used to treat various conditions, they can also cause negative effects such as sunburn, aging, and the promotion of skin cancer. An interesting note about sun damage and aging is the fact that your skin shows your age in relation to mostly external factors, with the sun being one of the largest reasons. Knowing that, who wouldn’t want to pack on the sunscreen or wear clothing items to protect that beautiful skin and keep themselves looking and feeling younger?

Let’s take a look at what UVA and UVB rays are. UVA rays are considered long wave, while UVB are considered short wave ultraviolet rays. This means that UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, and are what cause harsh effects like premature aging and skin cancer. UVB rays don’t penetrate as far, but they are the cause for visible damage to your skin such as sunburn. When considering which number SPF (sun protection factor) sunscreen to use, take note that they all block a large amount of UVA and UVB rays. The higher the SPF number, the more rays being blocked, and if you plan on spending long amounts of time in the sun, using a higher SPF is always a better option.

While a lot of people don’t even bother to use sunscreen, the ones who do are often unaware that sunscreen doesn’t work for the entire day. It is a product that needs to be re-applied if out in the sun for long periods of time, preferably every 1-2 hours. Your body, especially if you are out in the sun sweating or swimming, is going to naturally lose a good amount of the sunscreen you applied over that period of time, so do yourself a favor and re-apply that protection! 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Simon & His Camera