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Depending on where you are in South Africa, summer has either come in full speed ahead or is slowly creeping in. Either way, we know that most people are getting excited to be outside again enjoying the warmth of the sun and longer days.
It feels great to be out in the warm rays of the sun, saying goodbye to pale winter skin and months of being indoors! However, as fun as summer can be, spending too much time in the sun can be damaging. This is why we need to be really careful and follow some sun safety rules. This is especially true for children and those with sensitive skin.
The sun actually plays an important role in our body’s wellbeing. When our skin is exposed to the sun, our bodies make vitamin D which helps with calcium absorption. However, this process only requires a small amount of time in the sun. Too much unprotected exposure to the sun’s UV rays can lead to skin damage (sun spots, mottled pigmentation, wrinkles), immune system suppression, eye damage, widening of small blood vessels under the skin, and skin cancer. This is why we have put together a few suggestions on how to enjoy the sun without the harmful effects.
Okay this is an obvious one, which is why we put it first! Look for suncream with an SPF of 30 or higher and make sure it says broad-spectrum. Broad-spectrum means it protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays. Children should always wear suncream no matter their skin tone. For both children and adults, reapply suncream at least every hour and a half; or more often if swimming or sweating.
Avoid the Strongest Rays
You’ve probably heard this from your parents and your parent’s parents and maybe you even tell your own kids now: stay out of the sun around midday. This is because the sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10am and 2pm. This isn’t to say you can’t be outside, but remember that during this time you should be even more vigilant about suncream and try to stay in the shade where possible. This applies even on cloudy or cool days as the UV rays still reach earth and can cause unexpected skin damage and even sunburn.
Another easy way to protect your skin is to cover up with clothing. The great thing about clothing is that it won’t wear off like suncream does! Some fabrics even have an ultraviolet protection factor, or UPF – a bit like a suncreams SPF. You can also protect your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses. Hats with a wide brim are also great sun-protectors which shield your face, ears, neck and eyes. Just remember that unless you’re dressed up like it is winter (which you won’t want to do in the heat!) then the clothing will still leave some areas uncovered.
This is one we don’t often think about but which is just as important. Some medications make your skin more sensitive to UV rays. Some examples include acne medication, cortisone, and antibiotics.
Shade is a great way to get the best of both worlds. You can still be outside enjoying the day but you don’t have to be exposed to the full extent of harmful UV rays. This is especially true for that time period between 10am and 2pm. Relax under a beautiful tree, or set up a stylish umbrella or shade sail to create shade and protect your skin.
Because we care, we have a stylish and varied range of umbrellas and shade cloths so that you can still get the best out of summer without the painful sunburn and long lasting effects of UV damage.
To view our range of parasols & shade sails, click here.