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Wichita Falls Living Magazine

Top Tips for Sun Safety this Summer

Before you head out into the summer sun, take a few minutes to review these SUN SAFETY TIPS:

Wear sunscreen – We will not stop repeating this important tip! Adequately applied, a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher is the best and easiest way to keep your skin safe from the sun’s damaging rays.
Reapply sunscreen – At least every two hours, you need to reapply your sunscreen. You should wait for about ten to fifteen minutes to allow the sunscreen to be fully absorbed before getting in the water.
Limit peak exposure time – You’ll receive the most direct sun exposure from 10 am to 4 pm. Take regular breaks in the shade during these hours.
Protect your eyes – Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from sun damage that has been linked to vision problems, cataracts, and several forms of cancer, including intraocular melanoma.
Don’t forget your head – Wear hats and apply sunscreen to balding areas or large parts in the hair that reveal the scalp. This is one of the most overlooked areas where sunburn occurs.
Gear up – Light layers of protective clothing can block out UV rays and keep your skin safe in the sun.

There are two types of sunscreens:

Physical Sunscreen: This works like a shield, it sits on the surface of your skin deflecting the sun's harsh rays.

What to look for: active ingredients ZINC OXIDE and/or TITANIUM DIOXIDE.
This sunscreen is best for sensitive skin.

Chemical Sunscreen: This works like a sponge, absorbing the sun's rays.

This sunscreen tends to be easier to rub into the skin without leaving the white residue.

As long as it’s BROAD-SPECTRUM, WATER-RESISTANT, and has an SPF 30 OR HIGHER, it can effectively protect you from the sun. Make sure you reapply it every TWO HOURS when outdoors, or after swimming or sweating.

Make Sunscreen Part of Your Daily Routine

Sunscreen should not just be used on summer holidays or beach days. Instead, “Consider applying sunscreen as a daily preventative habit, just like brushing your teeth. Except, in this case, you are helping yourself prevent skin cancers and slowing down the aging process instead of preventing dental disease and keeping your smile beautiful.”

Even if you are spending most of your time indoors during the summer, sunscreen can help protect your skin. Researchers are finding that high energy visible light (HEV or blue light) from our digital screens and overhead fluorescent and LED lights may be harming the skin as well. Blue light can actually penetrate deeper into our skin than UVA and UVB light rays and may be more active in causing hyperpigmentation than UV radiation. There is no evidence at this time that HEV light causes skin cancer, but we do know that it may accelerate aging, so sunscreen is a must indoors as well as outdoors. 


Tips for Soothing Sunburns

If despite your best efforts you still end up with a sunburn, you should be able to care for your skin at home as it heals. But if you have large blisters, notice areas of skin that look inflamed or infected, or have very severe burns covering large areas of the skin, you may want to visit your dermatologist. While your sunburn heals, you can take the following steps to improve your comfort:

  • Take pain medications – Over the counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can significantly relieve pain from sunburn.
  • Keep skin cool – Use cold compresses (wet cloths, ice packs) to cool the skin off. You can also soak in a cool bath.
  • Keep skin moisturized – Sunburns strip moisture from the skin, so replacing the lost moisture can help your skin heal more quickly. Aloe vera gels, calamine lotions, and other hypoallergenic moisturizing creams and lotions can provide relief. You may even want to use a hydrocortisone cream to relieve pain and restore moisture.
  • Stay hydrated – Applying moisturizers topically is important but staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is also essential to ensure a speedy recovery from your sunburn.
  • Leave blisters alone – Don’t pick at blistered areas. Keep your skin clean and moisturized and allow blisters to heal. If you notice signs of infection, contact a doctor.
  • Don’t exfoliate – It can be tempting to get rid of all the peeling, flaking skin as soon as possible, but this can lead to unnecessary irritation as your sunburn heals. Instead of scrubbing away peeling skin, care for your skin by gently cleansing it and applying moisturizer.
  • Avoid further sun exposure – If at all possible, stay inside while your sunburn heals. If you need to be outside, cover up burned areas with clothing or hats. You should also apply ample amounts of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. 



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