Four ways to prevent sun damage

Sun safety tipsPosted on July 1, 2013

Many people think about sun protection only when they spend a day at the beach or pool. But sun exposure adds up day after day. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays—the culprit behind sun damage—over time can be harmful--even on cloudy days (like today).

Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap!

Here’s a phrase to remind you of the four main ways to protect yourself from sun damage: "Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap!"

Slip on a shirt

A typical, lightweight, white T-shirt has a very low SPF of 4-6.

That number gets cut in half when the shirt is wet. So while it offers some protection, you still need to use sunscreen and limit exposure.

Slop on sunscreen

When you've shopped for sunscreen, you have probably noticed products with very high SPF ratings.

While it seems logical to assume that an SPF of 30 is twice as good as one with an SPF of 15, that’s not how it works.

  • A product with an SPF of 15 blocks about 94 percent of UVB rays.
  • An SPF 30 product blocks 97 percent of UVB rays.
  • An SPF 45 product blocks about 98 percent of rays.

Anything higher than SPF 45 is a little expensive and a little silly. They may block a tiny bit more, but nothing offers 100 percent protection.

Slap on a hat

Wear a hat with at least a 2 – 3 inch brim all around so it protects areas often exposed to the sun such as the neck, eyes, forehead, nose, ears and scalp.

Wrap on sunglasses

Protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them with sunglasses that block the UV rays. The ideal sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but should block 99-100% of both UVA and UVB radiation, which will be noted on the label.

You can also protect yourself from sun damage by avoiding direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the UV rays are at their most intense.

Make sure to take special care of your children and their sun exposure, since they tend to be outdoors more and can burn easily. Babies younger than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight. 

Watch Fox 25 News this Friday, July 5 between 8 and 9 a.m. to see Beth Foley from FCHP demonstrate the Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap!

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The information written about in this blog is not intended to be medical advice. Please seek care from a medical professional when you have a health concern.