Happy Summer from the LPHC team! If you’re like me, everything is just easier and happier in the summertime. No heavy coat and boots weighing you down while getting from A to B, no snow and slush to trudge through, no ice to slip on, and endless fun outdoor activities!
Now that Summer 2017 is officially here, it’s important to remember amongst all of the fun and activities to keep your skin and eyes properly protected from the sun.
Aside from being happy and warm, the sun has many additional health benefits. Some of these include improved bone health and brain function (due to vitamin D production), increased endorphins and better sleep quality, lowered blood pressure (due to nitric oxide releases when the sun touches the skin), and an enhanced immune system.
However, as we know, the sun can be dangerous to both our skin and eyes. Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, cataracts, and skin cancer. The amount of damage from UV exposure depends on the strength of the light, the length of exposure, and whether the body is protected. Therefore, it’s good to keep in mind some ways to protect ourselves from too much of a good thing, and why this is important:
Those of us who have fair skin, freckles, and blonde, red or light brown hair (I fall into this category on all three counts) have probably been warned many times over to be careful with sun exposure. But proper skincare in the sun is not just for those like myself who burn easily – we are all susceptible to skin cancer and other complications, and we can all benefit from remembering these three easy ways to protect ourselves:
- The sun is strongest during midday, particularly between the hours of 10:00am to 4:00pm. If you want or need to be out in the sun during this time, it’s best to find shade, even to break up the length of exposure.
- There is actually clothing available that’s made with sun-protective fabric. These clothes typically have a label that indicates how effective the material is in protecting your skin from UV rays. Some brands that offer these items include Nike, Under Armour, and Columbia.
- Finally, sunscreen. It’s so easy to forget, but also so important to just remember. Best practice is to use SPF 15+, and re-apply every two hours that you’ve been exposed to the sun (especially if you’ve been swimming or exercising).
Just like the sun can increase our risk of skin complications and diseases, it can also increase the risk of eye diseases; including cataracts, growths, and once again, cancer. Although cataracts and eye cancers generally take years to develop, each time we’re exposed to the sun without protection, we might be adding damage which can culminate into more serious problems. Here are three simple things to remember for our eyes:
- Never look directly at the sun. Another one of those things I feel like we’ve all been told at some point, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. Doing this can lead to solar retinopathy, which is damage to the eye’s retina from solar radiation. And don’t be fooled by clouds – the sun’s rays can pass right through.
- Make sure you have a good pair of UV-blocking sunglasses. Not all sunglasses are properly UV protected. Lens quality does not equal UV protection. It’s safest to buy sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection (often labeled under UV400 protection)
- Finally, wear a hat that shades your eyes. They’re both fun and practical. Broad-brimmed hats are best, but a simple ball cap is better than nothing!
So with this in mind, we hope you have a safe and sunny summer, and don’t hesitate to stop by anytime for a massage, Chiro or Physio tune-ups during the summer months!
Author: Christina Bos | Hons B.A. Psychology | Clinical Receptionist