There’s something about the sunshine that makes everyone happy. Spending time in the sun is great, but sunburn is definitely not. Vitamin D has so many health benefits, but only when it’s consumed with caution! Getting a good dose of vitamin D can help strengthen your bones and teeth, increase your immune system, along with your brain and nervous system, and increase your lung function and cardiovascular health; however, too much vitamin D isn’t the best thing for your skin! Before heading outside for the day, make sure you take the necessary steps to keep you safe in the sun!
- Take in a little at a time. We’ve gone all winter bundled up and our pale skin isn’t used to the hot summer sun. Start out slow when re-introducing the sun. Your body needs time to realize it’s getting some summer sun and ramp up melanin production to help you defend yourself from those powerful rays. Spending just a few minutes in the sun each day before a beach-day marathon will help your skin be ready!
- Cover up: Although we all love soaking in the sun and seeing those tan lines finally show up after being pale all winter, it is important to cover up! If you’re going to be outside for long periods of time, wear light layers and a hat to cover up your skin, and protect your eyes with sunglasses that block UV rays. We know it’s fun to run around in your bathing suit all day, but your skin and eyes will thank you in the long run!
- Use sunscreen: Most sunscreens are water resistant, but that does not mean they are waterproof! You should always apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you go outside, and reapply every two hours, in addition to after you swim or sweat. Water also reflects the sun's rays making you more susceptible to sun damage. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure you use one that is 30 SPF or above. Don’t forget about the ears, lips, back of the neck, tops of hands, and the tops of feet!
- Find a natural option! It’s now easier than ever to find a sunscreen without all those yucky chemicals. Sunscreens with the active ingredients made of minerals are a great choice to protect yourself without the added chemicals.
- Spend time in the shade: If you’re planning on spending your whole day outside, make sure to take breaks in the shade! UV rays are the strongest between 10 AM and 4 PM. We know you want to take in all the sun you can get, but know your body’s limits and give it some shade too.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! The sun can soak up moisture in no time. Make sure you’re getting plenty of water while enjoying your time in the sun. Adding in a drinks like coconut water or fruit juices can ensure you’re getting a healthy dose of electrolytes to keep your system fueled and prevent dehydration and sun stroke.
Sunshine is beautiful, but also can be easily detrimental to your health. Make an appointment at least once a year with your physician/dermatologist for a skin check up. Enjoy the sun safely this summer!