If you are headed for the beach this Memorial Day keep the following 10 tips in mind so you enjoy the Sun without the burn.
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1. The sun's rays are at their strongest between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. That's when the most skin damage can occur, so beware! For optimal safety, catch your rays in the early morning hours or late afternoon.
2. Make sure to apply sunscreen a full 20 to 30 minutes before going out into the sun. That allows the lotion enough time to absorb into your skin.
3. Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is preferred. Lotions with an SPF of 30 protect you from roughly 97% of the sun's damaging UVB rays, and you can remain in the sun 15 times longer than other SPFs without risk of getting burned.
4. Use sunscreen liberally! Seriously. Pay close attention to areas that can really get hammered by the sun, such as your shoulders, chest, upper back, and nose.
5. Protect your eyes. Make sure to stay away from reflective or mirrored shades, because they can potentially intensify the sun's rays and damage your eyes. Wraparound sunglasses with 100% UVA are ideal.
6. Double-check the medications you're taking. Some antibiotics, diuretics, acne medications, and antidepressants can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. Also, be aware that many people remain sensitive to the sun for quite some time after they have discontinued use of their medication.
7. Stay shady. Shadows are your friend, particularly if the sun is really taking a wallop out of you. Take regular breaks from catching some rays, especially on scorching hot days.
8. Get to know the UV Index. It provides essential information to plan your fun in the sun while preventing overexposure to the heat. You can find the UV Index online or in select newspapers. If there's a higher number, limit your time on the beach, or opt for extra skin protection that day.
9. Location, Location, Location. Be aware that your chances of getting burned are exponentially greater if you're surrounded by reflective surfaces such as water and sand -- so protect yourself any way you can when heading off to the beach, where you'll be surrounded by both.
10. Reapply your lotion often. It seems obvious enough, but you'd be surprised how many people don't do it -- even after an extended stay in the ocean. A general rule of thumb is to reapply your suntan lotion every two to three hours for maximum protection.
Protect your skin and have fun at the beach!