Published by Claudia Giunta.
Did you know your sunscreen bottles have expiration dates? Or that SPF levels on your bottle do not determine burn protection time? We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about being safe in the sun.
No matter the weather, you should always be hydrated and take care of your skin. However, in these warmer months with higher UV rays and extreme heat advisories, there’s an increased risk of sunburn, dehydration, and other common effects of excessive sun exposure. Protecting your skin from the sun and drinking plenty of fluids can help prevent short and long-term health issues.
While the negative consequences of UV ray exposure are detrimental to your health, it’s important to note the benefits of the right amount of sun:
Vitamin D Exposure: The right amount of sun exposure is associated with strong bones, low blood pressure, and a healthy immune system. Being in the sun helps you get Vitamin D which supports calcium absorption for your overall bone strength.
Better Sleep: Sunlight helps regulate your melatonin levels and your circadian rhythm, your body’s internal clock that signals when to be awake and when to rest.
Serotonin Booster: Your serotonin levels increase in response to direct sunlight, helping to reduce depression and increase your overall mood.
Understanding both the positive and negative outcomes of your time in the sun will help you stay safe this summer. Here are our tips for taking the right precautions when being exposed to the sun.
Protect Your Skin
Skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, leading to a growing rate of diagnosed skin melanomas and related deaths. With more people being diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, sun damage to the body is a growing concern.
The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). BCC is caused by intense and long-term exposure to the sun and develops on sun-exposed areas of the face, ears, neck, head, shoulders, and back. When not treated early, this form of skin cancer can be damaging to the surrounding skin. SCC is found around the ears, face, neck, and ears and is caused by collective exposure to UV rays. Like BCC, SCC can spread without early detection, and when treatment is not prioritized. Performing regular skin-self exams is important for people who are at higher risk of skin cancer. However, many doctors encourage all of their patients to check their skin twice a month. Visit your dermatologists and talk to your doctor about how often you should examine your skin.
As you take precautions to protect your skin from the sun, you should also ensure your body is getting the right amount of vitamins the sun provides. At Nova Vita, you can get lab work done to monitor your Vitamin D levels and determine if your body is low in nutrients.
With this in mind, it’s important to apply the right type and amount of sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside. Even on cloudy days, UV rays can still be strong and affect your skin health. The FDA recommends using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Broad sunscreen provides protection against both UVA (longer sunlight wavelength) and UVB (shorter wavelength) by establishing a chemical barrier that absorbs or reflects UV radiation before it can damage your skin.
Putting more sunscreen on than you think you need is key to reaching the SPF amount on the sunscreen bottle. For hotter days in the sun with a higher UV, use a higher SPF and reapply every two hours. The SPF on your sunscreen tells you the amount of sunburn protection from UV radiation, not burn protection time. While water-resistant sunscreen exists, you should still reapply sunscreen when getting out of the water. The sun’s rays are the most intense from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so make sure you are reapplying frequently during this time.
There has been an ongoing discussion about which type of sunscreen is more effective: sunscreen spray vs. sunscreen lotion. The safety and effectiveness of spray sunscreen can be a concern, considering the health risks that can come from inhaling the fumes. Avoid spraying into your eyes or mouth because its fumes are a risk. Sprays can also be a fire hazard, so it’s important not to apply near an open flame. Lotions may offer more protection because you can tell how much of the product you apply to your skin.
Whether you choose spray or lotion sunscreen, make sure to check the expiration date of the product. Sunscreens are required by the FDA to remain at their original strength for at least three years. If your sunscreen does not have an expiration date, write the date you purchased it on the bottle. Expired sunscreens should be thrown away because there is no guarantee they are safe and fully effective.
Other Protection Precautions
Hats, sunglasses with UV protection, and sun-protective clothing are other measures you can take to protect your skin in the heat. While wearing darker clothing helps to block UV rays, it will make you hotter. Be sure to stay in the shade and drink water to help regulate your body temperature if you wear more clothing protection.
Your body relies on water to survive, and ensuring your body is getting enough water daily is an important step in maintaining your health. How much water should you be drinking every day? The Institute of Medicine of National Academies suggests that adult women drink 11 cups of water daily and men 15 cups of water. However, your water intake can come from other daily fluids; about 20% of your daily water intake is water-rich foods.
As temperatures climb, it’s essential to stay hydrated, especially with a higher chance of our bodies sweating and losing fluids. Maintaining proper hydration helps to regulate our body temperature, support our brain function and mood, remove waste, and keep our bones lubricated. Your hydration needs may vary depending on heat, humidity, and your activity levels. Taking care of our bodies in the heat and being aware of dehydration signs and symptoms will help to prevent it in the first place.
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than it is taking in. When your body is not receiving enough water, it upsets the balance of minerals and the way your body functions. The environment you are in, the amount of physical activity you are doing, and your diet can contribute to dehydration. Additionally, you may become dehydrated from an illness during which you may be sweating or vomiting.
Early signs of dehydration may include:
When dehydration is not treated properly, your symptoms may worsen and could include:
If you are dehydrated, drink plenty of water or sports drinks with electrolytes to quickly replace lost nutrients. You may also consider IV fluids that contain various vitamins and nutrients in liquid form to help your body stay hydrated. IV infusion therapy doesn’t just have to be for emergencies, but can also be administered for wellness therapy purposes. You can seek this treatment therapy to feel refreshed, especially if you are trying new and challenging workouts. Visit Nova Vita to receive an IV vitamin infusion that will replenish your body before and after dehydration occurs.
At Nova Vita Wellness Centers, we focus on personalized care and innovative therapy methods to help our patients feel their best. While we can’t stop the sun from damaging your skin, we are here to help you get ahead of its long-term effects.
Get ahead of the wrinkle game with our hydrafacial that helps hydrate and rejuvenate your skin before and after it is irritated from the sun. Been in the sun so long that it’s causing inflammation? Our red light therapy treatment can help give your body the energy it needs to function and repair any damage. We also offer infusions with Vitamin C and Biotin that help replenish your body with vital nutrients to ensure strong, healthy skin. We all enjoy the sun, but to minimize its negative effects check out everything Nova Vita’s Wellness Centers have to offer!
Swimming, hiking, biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities this summer mean lots of time spent in the sun. Stay hydrated, take care of your skin, and understand the health risks that come with being in the sun for long periods of time. Whether you are experiencing the aftermath of extreme sun exposure or want to ensure your body is fully hydrated and full of nutrients, Nova Vita is here to help. From vitamin infusions to hydrafacials to lab draws, and other personalized wellness services, we will ensure your body is being well taken care of and ready to take on all that summer has to offer!