By Anna Kellaher
As the temperature warms up and the sun comes out, it’s the perfect time to hang out in Alumni Grove or take a walk around the loop. But, before you break out your summer clothes and soak up the sun, take a minute to catch up on the basics of sun safety.
It takes as little as 15 minutes for ultraviolet rays from the sun to cause skin damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Your body responds to the rays with an inflammatory response –– short-term damage that we all know as sunburn, according to the American Skin Association.
In addition to short-term consequences, UV rays can cause lasting damage. They can alter the proteins that make up your collagen and elastin, causing increased wrinkling and sagging later in life. More importantly, UV rays contribute to the development of skin cancer, according to the American Skin Association.
Your best protection against sun damage is sunscreen. You should wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 whenever you are outside, even if it’s cold or cloudy. The higher the number SPF in your sunscreen, the more your skin is protected, according to the CDC.
The CDC recommends that you should reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after going for a swim. Sunscreen does expire, so check your expiration dates!
Cover up as much as possible and bring a T-shirt to the beach. Hats with a brim protect your head, face and ears, and will be helpful to keep the sun out of your face. If you don’t like to wear hats, wear sunglasses to reduce your exposure to UV rays, which can damage your eyes as well, according to the CDC.