Summer is coming up and that means we will spend more time outdoors in the sun having lot’s of fun!
While it’s good to get some sun, too much of one thing is never a great option!
Being outdoors has several benefits.
Causes our bodies to produce vitamin D which plays an important role in bone health, cancer prevention and certain chronic illnesses prevention. Read more about vitamin D here.
Helps with increasing your mood as it increases your serotonin levels (your happy hormone!)
Helps you sleep better when you get morning light.
When we are outside we are exposed to Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation, and too much exposure can be harmful.
There are three types UVA, UVB, UVC …the energy levels increases with the letters. However, we do not get exposed to UVC because it is unable to enter our atmosphere.
The problem with Ultraviolet Radiation is the effect on our skin. It can cause the DNA of our skin cells to be damaged putting us at risk of skin cancer, and it also promotes ageing and sunburns.
UV exposure not only can cause ageing and skin cancer, but can also cause immune suppression and damage your eyes and even cause cataracts!
The amount of UV exposure that we get depends on several factors. The time of day plays a role, where 10 am to 4 pm has the strongest ray exposure, spring and summer months also expose you to more- but here in Jamaica where we are so close to the equator… our exposure is year round.
How do we protect ourselves?
We protect ourselves with safe sun practices. These are things we do, to lessen the harmful effects of too much sun exposure.
Wear broad UV spectrum sunscreen that is at least 15 SPF everyday. It should be reapplied every two hours or after activities such as running and swimming. The fairer your skin is is the higher your SPF content should be.
Wear clothes that protect you from the sun. Ones that cover your back, legs and arms.
Wear hats, especially wide brim hats which protect more of your face, neck and ears. And don’t forget sun glasses too!
Check your UV Index, this tells you about the level of UV exposure for that day, the higher it is the more precautions that should be taken.
Do you have safe sun practices? Let me know below!
Samantha C. Johnson