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Soaking Up the Sun Safely: Your Guide to Protecting Your Skin

If you're like me, you love spending time outside. Taking in some fresh air and essential Vitamin D is good for every aspect of your health. In my years as a doctor, I've met many people who are confused about the sun, though. Because too much sun exposure is dangerous, lots of folks have become nervous about spending time outdoors and even avoid the sun altogether. I'm here to tell you this isn't necessary. You can enjoy time outside, soak up some rays, and stay safe. Here's how:

Understanding UV Exposure

Before diving into my sun safety tips, let's pause to learn more about UV exposure. As you know, the sun emits ultraviolet rays that can damage our skin. There are two types of UV Rays. UVA rays cause sunburn, the darkening of the skin, and skin cancer. UVB rays play a role in skin aging and cancer. To stay safe, you need to protect yourself from both. Your environment can impact your level of UV exposure, so here are a few things to look out for:

· Elevation - Higher elevations mean more exposure.

· Latitude - UV rays are stronger the closer you get to the equator.

· Time - UV rays are at their peak between 10 AM-4 PM.

· Reflective Surfaces - Water, snow, and sand reflect sunlight and can impact UV exposure.

Protecting Your Skin

Follow these suggestions to maximize your joy in the great outdoors without compromising health and beauty:

· Pick the right sunscreen - For the best protection, I encourage people to shop for a broad-spectrum lotion that's designed to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, has a minimum SPF of 30, and is water resistant.

· …And actually wear it! - Buying sunscreen won't do you any good if you don't get in the habit of wearing it and applying it regularly. Remember - even "water resistant" sunscreen will wear off for awhile, so take a break to lather on some more every couple of hours.

· Rock a Hat - Hats are cool! Not only will a good hat keep the sun off your face and neck, but it can also prevent you from overheating.

· Wear sunglasses - Okay, I know sunglasses technically protect your eyes, but they can also help your skin indirectly. The most important reason to wear sunnies is to shield your eyes from UV rays (so make sure your glasses actually offer UV protection!), but they reduce squinting in the light, thereby minimizing the formation of wrinkles around your eyes. · And certain larger sunnies have shapes that also protect the thinner, more delicate skin right under your eyes as well as the side of your eye’s that can develop “crow’s feet”.

I Got Burned – Now What?

If you stick to my tips, you should be able to avoid a nasty sunburn. Still, accidents happen. In the event that you do develop a mild sunburn, make use of aloe vera and cold compresses. This will relieve pain and reduce swelling. And please avoid picking at it! I know it's tempting to pull at your skin as it peels off, but this could lead to infection.

Got questions about keeping your skin young, vibrant, and healthy in the sun? If there's anything I haven't covered, please feel free to reach out. My job is to help you thrive!

Don't forget to bookmark my blog so you can stay up-to-date with all the latest tips from your friend – Dr. G!

The information and other content provided in this blog, website, or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


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