7 Things You Should Probably Know About Sunshine, But Don’t

Summertime is filled with long days of sunshine, sweet sunshine. But as delightful as it is to spend the whole afternoon soaking it up, all those UV rays can come back to bite you—does anyone have aloe? So, while you all know the importance of applying ample sunscreen (at least 1 ounce), 20 minutes before you head out—don’t skip those ears or toes—there are a few quick facts you may have missed.


1.    What time of the day are UV rays most intense?

The short answer is 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. So, if you’re out and about during these peak hours, make sure that you’re bringing your A-game in terms of sun protection. And don’t forget that UV rays can reflect off of surfaces, including water, cement and sand.

2.    What’s the best form of UV protection?

If you hear that lovely summer weather calling your name, get out there and enjoy it. But make sure that in addition to sunscreen—which is essential—that you have a wide-brimmed hat (which can be super cute), sunglasses (that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays) and don’t skip the lipscreen.

3.    Speaking of sunscreen, how does it work?

Most of us just lather on this magic lotion, spray or gel without giving much thought to how it protects us from all those damaging rays. So what exactly does sunscreen do? As long as it’s broad spectrum—meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays—it works by absorbing, reflecting and scattering UV rays.

4.    How high of an SPF do you really need?

While the answer to this question depends on who you ask, the truth is that SPF 30 is the recommended minimum—and it’s hard to beat. That’s because SPF 30 blocks 97% of the suns UV rays, and SPF 50 blocks 98.5% of the suns UV rays. So the SPF decision is up to you, but make sure that it’s at least SPF 30.

5.    What is the UV index? And how does it apply to you?

The UV Index was developed in 1994 by the National Weather Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. It gives a forecast of the expected risk of exposure to UV rays and recommends what degree of caution you should take when outdoors. The range given now follows the Global Solar UV Index: from 1 (low risk of exposure) to 11 and higher (extreme risk of exposure). It’s never a bad idea to check your local weather and see what the UV index reading is for your area.

6.    Is there anything that makes sunburns more likely?

If you’ve got all the sun-protection bases covered, make sure you don’t overlook everyday things like citrus juice, perfume and medications like Ibuprofen, Doxycycline and sulfa medications, all of which can make your skin more susceptible to sunburn.

7.    Besides your skin, can the sun harm your health?

When it comes to the sunshine, the top health concerns are skin cancer and sunburns. While you may just brush off sunburns as no big deal, did you know that just 5 sunburns in your lifetime can double your risk of melanoma? And despite this serious risk, only 14% of American men and 30% of American women regularly use sunscreen when outside for more than an hour (yikes!). So, it’s time to get serious about sun protection, for your skin—and your lips and eyes.

However, in the event that you’re battling a severe sunburn, it’s important to find relief. And sometimes the aloe, ice packs, cold baths and hydrating foods just don’t cut it. That’s where the experts at ChoiceOne Urgent Care come in. With care available seven days a week, 8 A-M to 8 P-M, they can provide comprehensive care for all of summer’s illnesses and injuries.

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