Everybody (well, except for vampires) enjoys soaking up the sun. Summer weather is great for hitting the beach, relaxing by the pool or simply kicking back on your porch with a good book. However, the sun can also be dangerous — vampire or not. Too much sun exposure leads to risks of premature ageing of the skin, painful sun burn and even potentially life-threatening skin cancer. From sunscreen to retractable awnings, in this article we’ll take a look at four ways to protect yourself from the sun, so you can enjoy the summer months without having to worry about your health.
1. Wear sunscreen
If you’re heading out into the sun, you should always wear sunscreen. It doesn’t matter if it’s an entire day at the beach or just half an hour in the outdoors — the sun needs very little time to do its damage. Some sunscreens, such as zinc, work by reflecting ultraviolet (UV rays), while others, such as octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) work to absorb the radiation, dissipating it as heat. You should also check the sunscreen’s SPF rating — the higher the SPF rating, the more effective the sunscreen. Whatever the case, you should always lather up before heading out into the sun to limit painful sunburn and the potential for skin cancer.
2. Cover up
You might remember the old “slip, slop, slap” ad campaign of the 1980s in Australia. The sunscreen mentioned above accounts for the “slop”, but it’s important not to forget to “slip” on a shirt and “slap” on a hat. Sunscreen will always be needed to protect your face, neck, lower arms and lower leg areas, but by putting on a shirt and a hat you’ll add an extra layer of protection. You should also wear sunglasses, as the glare from the sun can be both painful and damaging to your eyes in super-hot conditions.
3. Add shade to your home
If you’re going to spend a lot of time in your front or backyard during the summer, it pays to have plenty of shade. For some people, this will be provided naturally by towering trees on or near your property. If, however, you don’t have the benefit of such natural shade, you may want to consider installing a retractable awning. These awnings, which are generally motorised, can be extended to provide shade in the summer, and retracted to allow you to soak up the sun when it’s safe to do so. They also have an incredible cooling effect on the area directly underneath them, meaning you can spend the day in comfort.
4. Limit your time in the sun
Yes, we know the point of this article is to protect yourself when you do want to spend time outside, but overall, one of the most important points for protecting yourself from the sun is limiting your time exposed to it. For all the good the sun does, it’s important to remember that it can be very dangerous if we don’t take the appropriate precautions. Sunscreens, hats and shirts can only go so far if you’re spending time in the sun constantly, so remember to mix up your sunny days with plenty of time spend in the shade or indoors.