Getting some sun exposure is important to a healthy immune system! Sun exposure helps our bodies to produce vitamin D, which is vital for calcium absorption for strong bones. However, over exposure to ultraviolet rays can be detrimental to the skin, eyes, and immune system. Consistent and excessive sun exposure can cause cancer and premature skin aging.
Here's some information about the sun and some ways you can prevent damage:
- While tanning is your skin's response to sunlight to making more melanin, there is a fine line between healthy exposure and over exposure. Tanning DOES NOT prevent skin cancer. It would be wise to avoid tanning beds, since their bulbs emit intense UVA rays and are harsh to the skin.
- Apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen of SPF30 to all exposed skin if you're planning a trip to the beach or pool. Be sure to re-apply about every 2 hours.
- If you know you'll be in the sun for an extended period of time, wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to minimize exposure to your skin and eyes.
- The sun's rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m! If your shadow is shorter than you, find a shady spot to enjoy your beach day or outdoor exercise.
- Water and sand are reflective, so be sure to apply sunscreen even if you're under a beach umbrella.
- Don't neglect your lips! Use a lip balm with at least SPF 15 everyday.
It's best practice to examine your entire body on a regular basis. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, seek medical attention.