Here in the Marianas the beach is just minutes away and with warm, sunny weather practically year-round it's easy to get your beach fix any day of the year. Although going outside and catching those sun rays can be a good way to stay happy and healthy, getting more than your daily dose of that warm summer sun can be too much of a good thing too.
Hey, Did You Know?
The sun emits what's known as UV-A and UV-B rays; invisible kinds of radiation that can damage skin cells, and can even cause eye damage. These rays can reach your body even on cool, cloudy days, and often reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, and sand. UV Rays tend to be strongest from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. and its strength is measured against the UV index. UV rays measured 3 or higher on the UV Index can cause irreparable damage to your skin cells! I know right!
Hot Skin Summer
Skin cell damage can often lead to several types of skin cancers including: melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and merkel cell carcinoma. These various types of skin cancers are induced by too much exposure to harmful UV rays. However, skin cell damage can be easily avoided with these important UV Safety Tips:
Reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer by staying in the shade. Your umbrella can be used for more than the islands' weather mood swings! Try using your umbrella whenever you plan on being out in the sun for long periods of time, like your godchild's rugby game, or the long line at the DMV. And of course, you can always take shelter under a nice shady coconut tree while you're BBQing at the beach.
Cover Up Nai!
When you're bushcuttering your auntie's yard or working out in the sun for long periods of time be sure to use long-sleeved shirts, and long pants, or skirts which can provide protection from UV Rays. Darker clothing can often provide more protection from UV Rays than lighter colors, and some clothing is certified under international standards as offering UV protection.
Snapbacks and Hats Too
For the most protection, wear a hat that has a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and back of your neck. If you haven't taken off that baseball cap since the sixth grade, try using sun screen or clothing to protect the exposed parts of your head such as your neck and ears.
Don't Forget Your Shades Par
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and can reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection, while wrap-around sunglasses offer the best coverage because they block UV rays from coming at you sideways.
Screen the Sun with Sunscreen
Using broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays is the most effective way to protect from harmful UV rays. Just remember that not all sunscreens are made equal. For the best protection use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher before going outside. Lather it on thick on all exposed skin, and don't forget to reapply every 2 hours as sunscreen wears off especially if you've been swimming, or sweating a lot from that spicy donne' pepper. Be sure to check your sunscreen's expiration date; most sunscreens have a shelf life of just 3 years.
Skin Health is Wealth
As with all other organs of the body, your skin needs just as much care. Remembering these UV safety tips can help reduce your risks of skin cancers, and can even keep your skin looking younger and healthier. Although the sun is an important source of Vitamin D and can positively affect our mood and mental health, you just have to be sure that you are practicing Sun-Safe behaviors. For more information be sure to check out these helpful links:
UV Safe Out there Marianas!