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How To Prevent Tanning During Excessive Outdoor Activities

1.Avoid Periods of peak sunlight.Try to avoid scheduling the activity between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM when the sun’s UV Rays are the strongest. In addition to time of day, also keep in mind that UV rays are more intense:

  • At higher altitude

  • During the late spring and summer months

  • Closer to the eqator

  • When reflected off of surfaces such as snow, ice, water, sand, and concrete

2.Wear protective clothing. In tandem with the following steps, protective clothing can be one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from overexposure to UV rays during outdoor activities. The ideal clothing to protect you from the sun includes:

  • Bright- or dark-colored fabrics, which have a much higher Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) than light-colored clothing.

  • Densely woven, lightweight fabrics. If you can see light through the fabric, this also means that UV light is getting through to your skin!

  • Long sleeves and long pants will decrease skin exposure and provide the most protection. If you are wearing shorts, try to wear a longer pair that covers most of the thighs. For shirts, collared shirts can also help protect your neck from tanning.

  • Many brands specifically designed for sun protection offer their UPF rating on the label. Seek out a UPF rating of 30 and above for substantial protection from the sun

3.Wear a hat and sunglasses. The skin on your face and your eyes are very sensitive to sun exposure, so additional precautions must be taken to protect them during outdoor activities. While many hats and sunglasses will help curb some of the risks, to most effectively reduce exposure risks with the use of a hat and sunglasses, choose:

  • A wide-brimmed hat (minimum of 3”), which will keep the sun off of the face, neck (front and back), and ears, as well as any bald spots or parts in the hair. Like protective clothing, the most effective hats will also be made of tightly-woven fabric that you cannot see light through when held up to the sun.

  • Sunglasses that provide 100% UV ray protection, particularly models indicating that they provide UVB and UVA protection. Do not assume that dark-tinted lenses provide more protection as light-tinted lenses; it is not the darkness of the lens that indicates its ability to protect the eye from sun damage, and many light-colored lenses provide UVB and UVA protection

  • Wraparound sunglasses are even better, as they provide UV ray protection to the entire eye area, including the delicate skin around the eye and the eyelid. By blocking 99 – 100% of UV rays, wraparound sunglasses most effectively help to prevent serious conditions like cataracts and melanomas of the eye.

4.Use sunscreen. Sunscreen should be used every day to avoid sun exposure risks, but the use of sunscreen to avoid tanning during excessive outdoor activities is an absolute must, even if it is cloudy.When using sunscreen, consider the following for optimum protection:

  • Choose a sunscreen that is labeled as “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” to shield your skin from both the UVB rays that tan and burn the skin, as well as the UVA rays that penetrate the skin more deeply and cause sun-induced skin aging, called photo aging.

  • Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. If you have fair skin, you should consider choosing a higher minimum SPF of 30 to 50.

  • Apply 1 ounce (a golf ball-sized amount) of sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, and then reapply every 2 hours or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Even if the sunscreen is labeled as “water-resistant” be sure to reapply often as this does not mean waterproof!

  • Be careful to apply sunscreen to your entire body, especially the most commonly missed area like the ears, back of the neck, lips, hairlines, and the tops of feet.

5.Seek shade whenever possible.Though shade does not block all UV rays, when combined with the other steps listed, shade can help provide relief from the heat and protection from the glare of reflected UV rays. When participating in outdoor activities, seek out areas of natural shade, or create your own shade with an umbrella or tarp to avoid as much UV exposure as possible during peak sunlight hours.

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