When the weather gets warm, everyone wants to head outdoors for some sun and fun. But, when you head out into the awesome rays, be sure that you are well protected.

For years, people have spent countless hours in the sun, not realizing that they were damaging their health at the same time.

Now, we know so much more about the sun and its effects on the human body, namely our skin.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. Its job is to protect the internal organs from damage. But, the sun is wreaking havoc on our skin, leaving many with skin cancers. So, the next time you go out, protect yourself.

Here are a few tips on how to stay safe when out in the sun:

  • Always wear sunscreen when you head out. How protective it is depends on the SPF (sun protection factor). The higher the number means the fewer UVA and UVB rays are getting through that screen and penetrating your skin.
  • Cover your face when outside. On the beach, wear wide-brimmed hats and swimsuit cover-ups that extend down your arms and legs. The skin on the face is very delicate and can be damaged even easier than the rest of the body. For babies, completely cover them in the sun to prevent burns.
  • Reapply sunscreen as needed when swimming. If you are on the beach playing sports or resting, reapply sunscreen every two hours. If you are in the pool or ocean, reapply sunscreen when you get out for maximum protection. Use waterproof sunscreen when you are going to be in the water.
  • Stay hydrated. Skin is in its best protective mode when it is well moisturized. Part of that moisture comes from bringing in fluids to replace what we lose through sweat. Always carry bottled water with you. Cold water is absorbed better into the cells than warm water.
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses. Your eyewear needs to have UVA and UVB protection so your retinas aren’t damaged by the sunlight. If you are playing sports or just lying on the beach, eyewear is needed.
  • Use an umbrella. When you get overheated, getting into the shade helps your body temp go down and prevents heat stroke and sun poisoning. When you feel lightheaded and nauseous, you could be at the beginning of heat stroke. Retiring to the shade every few hours can keep you safe during beach activities.

The incidence of skin cancer has increased from spending time in the sun unprotected or not fully protected. Use the tips above to help protect yourself when you are on the beach, riding in the car or doing yard work outside in the sun.