Keys to Protecting Yourself from UV Rays

Sunscreen is a filter that doesn’t block all UV rays. Therefore, it’s simply a complement to the other measures you must apply. In this article, discover how to protect yourself from UV rays.
Keys to Protecting Yourself from UV Rays

Last update: 08 October, 2021

Do you know the keys to protecting yourself from UV rays (ultraviolet rays)? Many people wear dark glasses to avoid the sun. But what other measures do you have to take to protect yourself and avoid sunburns and redness?

Below, you’ll discover some aspects about sun exposure to take into account, in order to help you enjoy your time outdoors to the fullest.

Measures you can take to protect yourself from UV rays

You need to take many protective measures to prevent the damage caused by the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Below, we’re going to highlight some of the most important ones.

Wear a hat

As an article published in The British Journal of Dermatology confirms, wide-brimmed hats are the most suitable. This is because they cover your ears, nose, eyes, scalp, and forehead. Although sometimes we forget about these areas, solar radiation can damage them.

Proper clothing

Experts advise wearing clothing that covers all of your skin when you’re outdoors. Dark colors offer more protection. Closed weave or tightly women fabrics also offer more protection than those with lightweight plain-weave or loosely woven fabrics. Likewise, dry clothes are more protective than wet clothes.

It should be noted that clothing doesn’t completely block out all UV rays. If you can see light through a fabric, UV rays can also get through it.

Nowadays, many textile companies make clothes with UV protection. They usually have a label that indicates the UV protection factor (protection factor against ultraviolet radiation, or UVF) on a scale of 15 to 50+. The higher the UVF, the higher the protection it provides.

Avoid tanning beds

A tan woman.

People believe that the UV rays from this tanning equipment aren’t harmful, but they’re wrong. Sun lamps emit UVA and UVB rays. The use of this artificial method is associated with a higher risk of suffering from melanoma, especially if you begin to use them before the age of 30. The World Health Organization (WHO) published this information.

If you want to look tanned, there are several healthy options you can resort to, such as self-tanning sprays or creams, for example.

The small UV lamps used to speed up nail polish drying in gel manicures also emit UVA rays. For this reason, experts recommend putting sunscreen on the back of your hands before using them.

Wear sunglasses with UV protection

Wearing sunglasses that block UV rays is just as important as other protective measures. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends making sure that these glasses protect not only the eyes but also the delicate parts around them.

Ideal sunglasses block out 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Before buying a pair of sunglasses, you have to check the label:

  • Make sure they say “UV absorption up to 400nm” or “Meets ANSI Standards for UV Protection”, as this means that they block out at least 99% of UV rays.
  • Those that indicate that they’re for cosmetic use only block out approximately 70% of UV rays.
  • If the label says nothing, the sunglasses don’t provide UV protection. Always look for the ANSI label. Polarized lenses reduce light glare, but not radiation.

Staying in the shade: one of the keys to protecting yourself from UV rays

This simple measure is the best way to limit UV exposure. This is especially important between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., as the radiation is most intense during these hours of the day.

To check the intensity, you can do the shadow test. If your shadow is smaller than yourself, UV rays are at their most intense and it’s important to protect yourself.

You need to remember that clouds don’t block UV rays. Therefore, you still have to protect yourself even if the day is cloudy.

The beach and snow-covered areas increase the amount of UV radiation because they reflect the sunlight. The sun’s rays can even bounce off water and are stronger during the spring and summer months. In the case of mountainous areas, solar radiation reaches the ground a lot stronger.

Apply sunscreen

A woman applying sunscreen.

Sunscreen is a filter that doesn’t block all UV rays. You still get some radiation, even when you use it properly. For this reason, it’s simply a complement to the other measures you must apply.

You must read the labels of sunscreens correctly. Experts recommend a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 or above and with a broad spectrum of protection, both for UVB and UVA rays.

SPF 50 sunscreens filter about 98% and SPF 100 about 99% of solar radiation. Therefore, the higher you go, the smaller the difference. No sunscreen provides total protection.

You can find sunscreens available in many forms:

  • Gels
  • Creams
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Lotions
  • Ointments
  • Lip balms

In addition, it’s important to check the expiration date of the product before opening it. Once opened, it’s only effective for a year.

You always have to apply sunscreen before makeup or insect repellent. You have to apply it to your face, ears, arms, neck, and any other area of ​​your body that isn’t covered by clothing.

Experts advise reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours if you’re going to expose yourself to the sun, or after exercising, working, swimming, or playing.

The importance of protecting yourself from UV rays

As we mentioned above, you need to take basic protective measures to prevent the damage the ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes, especially in the hottest seasons of the year.

The darker the skin, the more capable it is of protecting itself. Therefore, people with light eyes and white skin, as well as redheads or people with blond hair, are the most sensitive. Nevertheless, people with all skin types must wear sunscreen and take the necessary measures.

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  • Vallejo, E. O., Vargas, N., Martínez, L. M., Agudelo, C. A., & Ortiz, I. C. (2013). Perspectiva genética de los rayos UV y las nuevas alternativas de protección solar. Revista Argentina de Dermatologia.
  • M. de la Torre Iglesias, P., & Álvarez Álvarez Covadonga. (2010). Consejo farmacéutico en dermoprotección infantil. Farmacéuticos Comunitarios.
  • Batlle, C. (2005). Factor de protección solar. OFFARM.