Tuesday, May 22

HOW TO avoid summer sunburns

It seems like every summer there is new news about how, when, where and why to use sunscreen. We all know we need it, but my eyes start to cross when I arrive at the sunscreen aisle. So, this year I really appreciated the super informative article on sun protection in the June issue of Better Homes & Gardens.  Here's an excerpt from the article 10 Signs You're About To Burn by Jan Sheehan to help you avoid sunburns this summer:

Signs You're About to Burn
  1. You're outdoors when your shadow is short--A stumpy shadow means the sun is directly overhead, the point at which UVB rays poke straight down through the ozone layer with minimal scattering.  As a result, a person's UVB exposure is up to 50 percent higher during this stretch of day than in early morning or late afternoon.
  2. Your sunscreen absorbs in seconds--Sorry, but a think squiggle of lotion isn't going to cut it.  To get the SPF level promised on the label, you need to slick on enough for your skin to stay damp for a minute or two.  (When wearing a swimsuit, count on using an amount that fills your palm.)
  3. You apply your first coat of sunscreen outside--Beware: You could burn while the stuff is booting up.  Modern chemical formulas--those made with oxybenzone, avobenzone, and similar ingredients--work by absorbing ultraviolet rays.  For the products to be effective, they must first bind to proteins in the skin, a process that takes about 20 minutes.
  4. You grab sunscreen from the car--On a bright summer day, you could fry an egg on the dashboard of a parked vehicle.  Don't let those triple-digit temperatures cook your sunscreen, too.  Take your sunscreen with you when you leave your car, and while outdoors, do what you can to shield it--say, by stashing the tube in a drink cooler.
  5. You pop a pain reliever--Once absorbed by the body, common medications can react with ultraviolet light on the skin's surface, resulting in serious burns.  This rapid reaction, known as photosensitivity, is most often seen with ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), certain antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and diuretics.

Photo from Microsoft Office Clipart Gallery

Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

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