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The Importance of Sun Protection

sunEveryone has heard it’s important to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun.  From the mysteries of the ‘SPF’ number to fashion sunglasses that look cool, but can actually increase your eyes exposure to UV rays, I want to share some of my personal tips.

For example: you can protect yourself from sun damage by covering your skin with long pants, long sleeve shirts, and a wide-brimmed hat. Sunglasses are cool, yes, but make sure they actually have UV filtering.  Fashion sunglasses can make your pupils dilate and actually let in more radiation.

In addition you must wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The higher the SPF the more protection it provides. SPF is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, the kind of radiation that causes sunburn, damages skin, and can contribute to skin cancer. Sunscreen is most effective if it is applied before going outdoors (at least 30 minutes before exposure). Sunscreen must also be re-applied every hour for on going protection. When swimming or sweating re-apply every 20-30 minutes.

After you have taken all the previously mentioned precautions to protect yourself from the sun, find shade under a tree, umbrella, or other shelter. Not only will these safety precautions help protect you from getting sun burnt, but also reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

Several members of my family are redheaded and fair-skinned. My great-grandmother, grandfather, and father have had melanomas removed. Enjoy your summer and time outdoors, but always remember to wear your sunscreen!

Story and Photos by Molly Clegg, HS Intern

Story and Photos by Molly Clegg, HS Intern

Author: Staff Reporter

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