How To Be Sun Smart

Sun Smart
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We have talked about how sunlight is actually quite beneficial for our health, promoting the production of vitamin D and serotonin, which facilitate a number of health benefits. Getting enough sun, it seems, is an important part of maintaining good health, and is something that is an important part of your Kaufmann Lifestyle when enjoyed responsibly – be sun smart.

Responsibility is key, because when it comes to the sun, there is too much of a good thing. As the saying goes, you wouldn’t hold a match between your fingers and let it burn until it scorched your skin. The same caution should be given to the sun. 

We are told that in order to protect ourselves from the sun, we should slather sun screen on any time we are going to be outside. While it is good to pay heed to your dermatologists advice, it is important to remember that while sunscreen can block damage from the sun, it also prevents the positive health benefits the sun confers, as well. So it would seem that at least some, unprotected exposure to sunlight is a good thing. 

On the other hand, if you are going to be outside longer than 15-30 minutes at a time, you do not want to be unprotected, either; this is when you will start to see damage from the sun. Long periods of time in the sun simply require protection from damaging rays. 

To that end, here are some tips on being sun smart.

Use Physical Barriers When Possible

Physical barriers are one of the most effective ways to prevent damaging rays from the sun. Breathable long sleeves, swim shirts, large brim hats and sunglasses are all good ways to protect yourself from the sun without first reaching for sunscreen. Staying in outdoor shaded areas is another good option; at the very least, make your own shade with an umbrella.

Avoid The Times Of Day When The UV Is Highest

Generally, the middle of the day is when you will get the most exposure to damaging sunlight, so it can be best to try to go outside in the morning and the evening. Many weather apps can give you real-time updates on how strong the UV rays are in your area. Going out when the UV is lower doesn’t mean you can let your guard down necessarily, but your exposure to damaging sun rays will be lessened. Remember that UV rays can penetrate cloud cover too, so cloudy days are not always safer.  

What About Sunscreen?

Many sunscreens that you buy contain ingredients that you likely do not want to put on your skin; some, such oxybenzone, avobenzone, homoslate, octinoxate, octisalate, and octocrylene are potential endocrine disruptors, and in the case of oxybenzone, absorb readily into the skin. These products are commonly used in many sunscreens. 

Still, sunscreen can be an important part of responsibly enjoying the sun and spending time outdoors. 

Sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are preferable, as these have shown no negative health effects and are thought to be safe and effective. These should be applied to skin that is going to be exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time to prevent sunburns and sun damage. These should be used as directed. 

Being sun-smart is a good way to get the benefits of sunlight while avoiding any sort of damage from the sun that the sun can inflict.

Related Articles:

What You Should Know About Sunscreen

Your Skin and the Sun

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