by RANDI CANTRELL

Five Tips for Protecting Your Skin this Summer

With the arrival of the official season of beach days and backyard barbeques, it’s likely that you’ll be spending a lot more time outside for the next few months. While you’re putting on your swimsuit or bringing out the coolers and lawn chairs, it can be easy to forget to take the necessary steps to avoid the harmful effects of the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, which is why we’ve put together a few simple tips on how to safeguard yourself and your family this summer.

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Know Your Sunscreen
Apply sunscreen to your face, ears, neck, arms, and any other areas not covered by clothing, and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day – a good rule of use is one ounce every two hours. Be sure to read the label before you pick one out. Broad spectrum sunscreens – those that protect against both UVA and UVB rays – with a SPF of at least 30 are a good place to start, though higher SPFs provide more protection for longer. Always follow directions on the label and check for expiration dates. Most
sunscreens are good for up to two to three years.

home2Wear Proper Clothing
Clothing can provide different levels of sun protection, depending on the fabric, color, and of course, how much skin is being covered. Dark colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants are the most protective, and tightly-woven fabrics are best. If you hold the clothing up and can see light through the fabric, you’re still getting some UV exposure.

Head for the Shadehome3
Avoiding too much direct sunlight is simple but important, especially during the hoursof 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV light is strongest. UV rays can reach below the water’s surface, so you can still get a burn while relaxing in the pool – and don’t forget that sun protection is necessary even on cloudy days.

Protect Your Eyes, Too!home4
Wearing a hat and sunglasses can help protect your vision, as well as cover up sensitive areas that are difficult to protect with sunscreen, such as the scalp, ears, or delicate skin around the eyes. Choose a wide-brimmed hat with at least two to three inches of tightly-woven fabric all the way around and a dark, non-reflective underside. Large-framed or wraparound style sunglasses are best for covering your eyes from light coming in from different angles. Before you buy check for labels that say “UV 400 protection” or “Meets ANSI UV Requirements” as these indicate that the sunglasses will block 99-percent of UV rays.

Use the UV Indexhome5
Before you head out for a day in the sun, check the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website for the UV Index. The index represents the intensity of the UV rays of the sun on a scale of one to 11 to help you decide how much UV protection you’ll need for your outdoor adventure. The National Weather Service calculates the UV Index forecast daily and the EPA publishes the information, along with other recommendations for sun protection and planning sun-safe outdoor activities at www2.epa.gov/sunwise.