Summer weather is approaching! This means we can resume our fun outdoor activities like swimming, hiking and sunbathing. However, it is essential to remind ourselves of the several ways we can protect ourselves from the sun, to prepare for our summer adventures. The American Cancer Society reports that "people who get a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays are at a greater risk for skin cancer.” UV radiation can also lead to premature wrinkling, sagging, brown spots, damage, peeling and more. 

Not only is it crucial to be aware of the dangerous effects that the sun can have on our skin, but it is also important to understand how to protect ourselves. Hence, here are six ways to avoid sun damage and have the best summer possible, without the pain.

1. Purchase a quality sunscreen. 

Most people typically want to reach for the closest product at the store for convenience's sake, but when it comes to your sunscreen, be sure to investigate a little bit. The American Cancer Society recommends buying a broad spectrum sunscreen, protecting against both UVA and UVB rays, as well as an SPF that is 30 or higher. Sunscreen should also be applied thirty minutes before you are exposed to the sun, and applied every two hours after the first application to ensure minimal harm to your skin.

2. Buy sunglasses with UV protection. 

The sun can cause significant damage to our eyesight. To aid in combating this danger, opt to purchase a pair of sunglasses that offer up to 99 - 100 percent protection from both UVB and UVA light. Look for a label of UV400 or higher to ensure that you are getting the best safety offered. For an added bonus, you can buy lenses that are polarized, which helps offset detrimental glares. 

3. Wear a wide-brimmed hat.

If you know that you are going to be underneath the sun for a long period of time, wear a wide-brimmed hat. Not only are they in style, but they also protect your neck, ears, eyes, nose and scalp. 

4. Wear tightly-woven clothing.

Osha.gov recommends wearing tightly-woven clothes that block out light. They suggest trying this test which states, “place your hand between a single layer of the clothing and a light source. If you can see your hand through the fabric, the garment offers little protection.” 

5. If you can, limit your UV exposure. 

Seek the shade whenever possible. This will allow your skin to catch a break from the harsh rays. Osha.gov states, “UV rays are most intense between 10 am and 4 pm.” So if you know you’re going to be under the sun during these hours, grab your hat and wear some thicker fabric. 

6. Avoid tanning beds.

Tanning beds are harsh on your skin and the tanned appearance is not worth a plethora of skin related health risks. Instead, use a self-tanning lotion or foam. They are not harmful and can provide that instant tan you're yearning for. 

I promise, having a suntanned complexion can be achieved through a simple product that won't cause severe detriment to your skin. Instead of laying out in the sunshine this summer, keep your skin health in mind and try to follow these rules. 

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