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Enjoy the Sun This Summer While Still Protecting Your Skin

By HERWriter Guide
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Enjoy the Sun this Summer While Protecting Your Skin Lev Kropotov/PhotoSpin

The sun has a bad reputation these days and in some ways, rightly so. Too much sun exposure can make you look old before your time. It can give you sunstroke, heatstroke, sun poisoning and cancer.

While all that is true, we need the sun to survive. We also need it to make vitamin D in our bodies and — let’s face it — the sun feels good.

As long as we don’t overdo it, and as long as we protect ourselves, we can have a lot of fun in the sun this summer.

The bad parts of the sun are its harmful rays - namely its UVA and UVB rays. The UV stands for ultraviolet. The A stands for the longwave rays and the B are shortwave rays.

Both types of rays cause skin cancer and it’s thought that UVA contributes significantly to premature aging. UVA rays filter through the earth’s atmosphere far more than UVB.

But despite these dangers, there’s no reason to hide from the sun completely. Limited amounts of sun exposure can help with vitamin D production. The sun is warm and comforting for many people — an easy and free mood booster.

Sunscreen is one of the best defenses against the sun’s harmful rays, but not all products are alike. CBS News recently ran a story about new, troublesome research that shows a third of sunscreens aren’t offering the level of protection they claim.

The study, conducted by Consumer Reports, found that of the 34 brands they checked, 11 made false claims of protection — anywhere from 11 to 70 percent less than the packaging said. This could highly impact a person’s skin in terms of exposure and burns.

For more on that study, click here.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that we “use enough sunscreen to generously coat all skin that will be not be covered by clothing. Ask yourself, 'Will my face, ears, arms, or hands be covered by clothing?' If not, apply sunscreen. Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen”

The Academy also recommends reapplying sunscreen every couple of hours.

Clothing and hats need to be considered when you're going to be out in the sun.

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EmpowHER Guest

Wonderful and thoughtful advice. I would like to add into the quest for balanced sun exposure new gadgets on the market like SunFriend that can track your UV exposure so you don't get too much or too little.

July 24, 2015 - 5:10am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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