Bring on the sunshine—but not too much!
Be SunWise! Know the steps below to enjoy your time in the sun while still protecting yourself!
- Do not burn-overexposure to the sun is the most preventable risk factor of skin cancer
- Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds. UV rays from tanning beds and the sun cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want a sun-kissed glow, consider a self-tanning product.
- Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher that provides broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every 2 hours.
- Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, wide brimmed hat and sunglasses when possible.
- Seek shade when you can. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the sun’s damaging rays and can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Check the UV index. Avoid being outside when the UV index is high or be sure to protect yourself.
- Get Vitamin D safely through a diet of foods fortified with vitamin D rather than sun-seeking.
- Check your skin. Early detection of melanoma can save your life. Examine your skin once a month. Follow up with a health care provider if you notice new or changing spots.
Should I wear sunglasses?
Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can hurt your eyes as well as your skin. Strong sunlight can burn the corneas and conjunctivae of your eyes. Long-term exposure to UV radiation can contribute to eye disease, especially cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
The best way to protect your eyes from the sun is to wear sunglasses designed to screen ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunglasses don't have to be expensive to be effective. Look for glasses that block 90 percent to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light. To be even more effective, sunglasses should fit close to your face or have wraparound frames.
Some additional tips for protecting your eyes in the sun:
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap. This keeps out sunlight from directly overhead, which can slip past sunglasses.
- Never look directly at the sun, even through sunglasses, because doing so can cause permanent damage to your eyes.
- Wear sunglasses and a hat if you take medications that increase the sensitivity of your eyes to light, such as tetracycline (Achromycin V, Sumycin) or allopurinol (Aloprim, Zyloprim).
- If you have an eye disease such as macular degeneration, you're at increased risk of UV-related eye damage. Protect your eyes whenever you go outside, no matter how briefly.