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Feature of the Month: UV Safety and You!

There's all sorts of great memories to be made during the summer, but the last thing you want to bring back from the beach is a sunburn!

July is UV Safety Month, which means that it's a good time to get a refresher course on taking care of your skin and staying safe in the summer sunshine!

1) Be mindful of the shade- put your picnic lunch under a shardy tree, bring an umbrella to the beach, or anchor one in your backyard to keep the sun at bay!

2) Cover your head! The top of the head (especially if you part your hair or have very short hair), is constantly hit by sunlight, which means that it often gets the most UV radiation during the day.  Put on sunscreen, (or, for ease of use) put on a nice, breathable hat to keep the sun off your noggin!

3) You may not know this, but your eyes can be affected by UV radiation as well.  Some people have even developed cancers in their eyes after years of prolonged overexposure to the sun.  Bright days and the angle of the sun can obscure your vision, which can make it less safe for you to see where you're going.  Sunglasses are a great solution to all of these problems.  Not only can you protect your eyes from disease, but it will increase your comfort on uncomfortably bright days.

4) It may seem counterintuitive, but long sleeves are actually preferable when you plan to be outside during hot, sunny days.  Loose, breathable fabric, especially when it is white or pastel, will reflect the UV radiation that would normally hit your skin, while also providing portable shade for your body.  The looseness and breathability create air currents against your skin to keep you cooler as well.

5) Finally, everyone should wear sunscreen! Apply it several times a day (especially if you're sweating or in the water, as it will eventually wash off). A minimum of SPF 15 is recommended, but you can use up to SPF 50 if you're planning on staying out for a long time.  Note: many beauty and grooming products will mention if they have sunscreen in them- try out a variety of types to see which one is best for you.

For more ways to protect your skin, visit the EPA's sun safety page here!

UV (Ultraviolet) Radiation: What is it, and how does it affect us?

Scientists often divide UV radiation into 3 wavelength ranges:

  • UVA rays are the weakest of the UV rays. They can cause skin cells to age and can cause some indirect damage to cells’ DNA. UVA rays are mainly linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles, but are also thought to play a role in some skin cancers.
  • UVB rays have slightly more energy than UVA rays. They can damage the DNA in skin cells directly, and are the main rays that cause sunburns. They are also thought to cause most skin cancers.
  • UVC rays have more energy than the other types of UV rays. Fortunately, because of this, they react with ozone high in our atmosphere and do not reach the ground. Therefore UVC rays are not normally a risk factor for skin cancer. But they can also come from some man-made sources, such as arc welding torches, mercury lamps, and UV sanitizing bulbs that kill bacteria and other germs (such as in water, air, food, or on surfaces).

Read more here!

Get the whole family involved! Click the image below for more information and ready resources