The Good, the Bad, and the Sunny: Let’s Get Real about Sun Exposure

By Catherine N. Reeves, Lawyer at Metzger Wickersham

July is UV Safety Awareness Month. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation are invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. Your body absorbs UV rays to produce vitamin D, which is essential for optimal health. Vitamin D strengthens your bones, muscles, and immune system. Research suggests that sunlight stimulates your brain to produce chemicals that even improve your mood.

According to Augusta University Health, just 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure about four times a week on your sunscreen-free face, arms, legs or back is enough to get you your daily requirement of vitamin D. This is about 600 IU (international units), or 1,000 milligrams when measured in supplements.

However, too much of anything can be bad and the same is true for too much sunlight, moderation is key. We all know that too much time spent absorbing sunrays can cause sunburn, premature aging, damage your eyes and skin, which in time can result in skin cancer – a major reason to apply sunscreen and protect your skin from the sun as much as possible.

5 Tips to Protect the Skin Your In

  1. Wear sunscreen. According to the CDC, apply a broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher even on cloudy or cool days. Reapply every two hours after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
  2. Wear a hat. Accessorize with a wide brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears. Avoid straw hats with holes that can let sunlight through.
  3. Sport sunglasses. Sunglasses with lenses that have UV absorption provide optimal protection for the eyes and surrounding skin.
  4. Cover up. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Loose-fitting dark clothing with tightly woven fabric blocks more sun.
  5. Seek shade. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. look for access to shaded areas during these times.

Summer is a great season to get outdoors and explore, swim, and enjoy adventure, but remember, be safe in the sun no matter the weather. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds. This is the reason people often end up with serious sunburns on overcast days if they’ve spent time outside with no sun protection.

Get sun-smart and keep the sun fun by taking precautions to protect yourself from UV rays. We at Metzger Wickersham wish you a fun, safe, and fulfilling summer!

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