UV Safety Month: Staying Safe in the Sun

uv safety month july

We started the summer with an emphasis on raising awareness for skin cancer and why protecting your skin is so important. Now in the middle of that summer heat, UV Safety Month serves as another opportunity to remind ourselves of the dangers the sun’s UV rays can pose.

This month we go beyond skin though – because the damage UV rays cause can extend to our eyes as well!

Do Not Ignore Your Sunscreen

At a minimum, you want your sunscreen to be at least SPF 30. It has become increasingly common to see higher SPF sunscreen available at most retailers as well. If you plan to be outside for extended periods, you will need to re-apply your sunscreen according to the recommended time frame on the bottle. This is usually about every two hours.

Additionally, you should keep an eye on your sunscreen’s expiration date. This is often two or three years from purchase and is crucial in having the sunscreen work. Expired sunscreen will provide little benefit as the active ingredients will have gone bad.

Does UV Protection Clothing Help?

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) Clothing is clothing designed to help protect your skin from UV rays. It can easily be confused with regular active wear since it has a similar look and feel. UPF ratings are similar to SPF ratings, and while not the same, wearing a UPF 30 shirt is comparable to SPF 30 sunscreen.

With clothing-based protection, you will have some gaps where the clothing does not cover (the back of your neck for example). Also, as the clothing receives more wear and tear from years of being worn its effectiveness will decrease. Most UPF clothing will last two to three years under regular wear.

Keep Your Shades On

Sunglasses are not just for making it easier to see on bright days, but they are also for protecting your eyes – just the same as sunscreen. When you purchase a new pair of sunglasses, pay attention to the numbers on the stickers and tags. Most sunglasses block out nearly all UV rays to the eyes.

What about Your Hair?

It can be helpful to wear a hat when outside in the sun to help shield your face – but it also helps cover the hair. The sun can cause your hair to become discolored, dry, and brittle.

There are special hair products you can use to protect your hair if this becomes an issue for you.