UV Safety: Staying Sun Safe While on the Water

UV Safety Staying Sun Safe While on the Water

Whether you’re swimming, surfing, boating, or partaking in other fun activities in and around the water, it’s important not to forget to protect your skin. The water’s surface can act as a mirror, magnifying the effects of harmful UV rays up to 10 percent. 

Diving beneath the waves doesn’t offer much relief either: UV rays penetrate 200 meters (656 ft) below the water’s surface. At 3 feet beneath the surface, you’ll still be exposed to up to 40 percent of the harmful UV light at the surface.

At Skin & Beauty Center, we’re serious about protecting your skin from sun damage this summer. If you’re planning to spend some time on the water, here are our top 5 UV safety tips.

Wear (&Re-apply) Sunscreen!

No surprise here: as expert dermatologists, we urge everyone to wear sunscreen daily. 

It’s especially important to wear the right sun protectant while on the water: make sure your sunscreen is water resistant and has a minimum broad spectrum protection of SPF 30 or higher. 

If you’re spending time in the water, remember to pay attention to your sunscreen’s label. Most will give a water resistance time frame – typically either 40 or 80 minutes – after which you’ll need to apply again. If you’re not getting in the water, reapplying every 2 hours is a good rule of thumb.

Wear Sun Protective Clothing

For most people, planning an outfit on hot summer days is about maximizing comfort which can mean as little cloth as possible. While those shorts or crop tops may be cute and comfortable, they offer little in the way of sun protection. 

Instead, opt for loose, breathable layers that cover as much skin as possible to add extra UV safety. Lighter colors also help to reflect more of the sun’s rays to keep you cooler and protected. Wide brim beach hats are also a great option for staying sun safe at the beach or poolside. 

Avoid Peak Sun Hours

10 A.M. to 4 P.M. are peak sun hours across California. The sun is at its strongest during this window, increasing your risks of experiencing sunburns and harmful sun damage. Staying indoors or under the shade as much as possible during these hours goes a long way in protecting your skin this summer.

If you must be outside and in direct sun during these hours, be sure to follow the previous tips closely.

Stay Hydrated to Prevent Sun Damage

Staying hydrated during the hot summer months does more than prevent heat related illnesses like hyperthermia. The skin contains 64 percent water and it plays a crucial role in its natural UV protection capabilities. 

While drinking plenty of water will never replace the need for a good sunscreen, hydration goes a long way to help support your skin’s ability to heal and protect itself. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests 11.5 cups of water on average for women and 15.5 cups of water for men. Try to avoid drinks with a high sugar or caffeine content – these may actually counteract your hydration efforts.

Know Your Risk Factors and Get a Skin Exam!

The best way to combat skin cancer is with prevention. 

Harmful UV rays are a leading factor in skin cancer development, with just five sunburns in your lifetime doubling your melanoma risks. But beyond being sun safe, knowing your other risk factors can help inform the way you approach skin cancer prevention. These include:

  • Fair skin, eyes, and/or hair
  • Having skin that freckles or burns easily
  • Having skin prone to freckles or moles
  • Family or personal history of skin cancer
  • Working outdoors or engaging in frequent outdoor activities

If any of these fit you, or you just want to know your current skin health status, schedule your annual skin exam today! Early detection increases your chances of recovery up to 99 percent and our skin cancer experts can walk you through all of your treatment options.

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