Guest Author - Carla Cano
3.7 million are diagnosed with skin cancers in the U.S. each year. Over the last several decades understanding of Ultraviolet Rays (UVR), have been a priority of many doctors and scientists. Due to their research and insight many products have been developed to better protect those that love the great outdoors. There has been new breakthroughs in understanding how SPF works and ways to add UPF to clothing. What that means for walkers is that there are many options in style, scents, and range of SPF protection to choose from depending on your specific needs.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that clothing is the best line of defense from the damaging effects of the sun. One way to determine if your clothing is blocking out the sun's rays is to hold your garment up to the light, if you can see through the material then the sun's rays can come through. There is clothing made specifically with UV protection such as those offered by Coolibar, Alex & Me Company and Solartex. These companies are just a few of the outlets to get comfortable sun protection without applying lotions, laden with chemicals, onto your skin. It is important to cover as much exposed skin as possible. Protecting your face and neck is a bit harder if you choose not to use a sunscreen. Choose a wide-brimmed hat with a flap in the back to protect your neck from burning. Also choose sunglasses that wrap around and have broad spectrum protection.
Sunscreens offer protection from the sun by allowing more time in the sun before you begin to burn, they protect from UVB rays. So if you are able to be in the sun for 10 minutes before burning without sunscreen, with sunscreen having a 15 SPF, you would be able to stay in for 15 times longer, so theoretically you could stay in the sun for 150 minutes. However there are many factors to the sunscreen's effectiveness. Sweating or swimming will cause your sunscreen to break down, so you will have to reapply more often. Another important aspect of the effectiveness of your sunscreen is its ability to block UVA rays, those that cause aging. To be protected from UVA rays use a broad spectrum sunscreen or one that has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
The sun is vital to our existence and should be regarded with respect. It has many beneficial properties for our bodies, we should not fear it. Enjoying the outdoors, with fresh air and sunshine, aides in many healthy practices. The sun creates vitamin D in our bodies which is essential for our health. Enjoy the sun while walking, however take precautions to protect for the sun's damaging effects as well. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before embarking on your walk to give it time to penetrate your skin. Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and reapply sunscreen as often as needed throughout the day for long walks, about every two hours.