Memorial Day Weekend: Stay Safe in the Sun

Many Americans celebrate Memorial Day weekend by spending time outdoors. From a trip to the beach to a family barbecue, here are some tips on how to protect you and your family from the negative effects of the sun.

Only certain kinds of sun rays are capable of tanning or burning our skin. They're called ultraviolet rays (UV),  and they come in two types. UVB rays are less damaging, because they cannot penetrate beyond the first layer of our skin. But UVA rays do penetrate, not only past the first skin layer, but even through hats and most clothing. 

The best protection when outside is to avoid the sun altogether between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when the sun’s rays are more direct. But those are the very hours when travelers are most often involved with outdoor activities. Here are some tips for protecting your skin when activities keep you out in the sun:

  • If you have a history of skin Cancer or sunburn easily, wear clothing that is labeled as sun-protective. Such clothing carries a UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor rating. For example, a UPF rating of 50 means that the clothing will block 98% of the sun's UVA radiation.
  • Children should wear sunscreen, but also play in the shade.
  • Even if you have normal skin, take advantage of shade from trees, buildings, etc. whenever possible. 
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats to shade your face and neck. 
  • Wear sunglasses with a UV rating to protect your eyes from UV damage.
  • Use sunscreen that protects the skin, itself, from both UVB and UVA rays. For tips on how to apply sunscreen, click here.
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