All You Need to Know About Sun Exposure

Sun exposure often has a negative connotation associated with it. It is well known that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sun exposure accelerates skin aging and increases your risk for skin cancers1.

Although this is the case, there are multiple health benefits of sun exposure to remember. Some of the advantages include:

  • Enhanced mood
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Positive impact on blood pressure
  • Increased activation of Vitamin D

The benefits can easily outweigh the adverse effects if proper sun protection is used. For more sun exposure facts read below for more:

Spending 15 minutes in the sun increases risk of skin damage1.

It is important to apply sunscreen regularly. Doctors recommend sunscreen should be reapplied every 40-80 minutes. The more active you are, the more frequently you should apply sunscreen.

A broad-spectrum sunscreen offers the best protection as it protects from both types of UV radiation: UVA rays and UVB rays3. Water-resistant sunscreens improve protection when sweat is present.

The peak hours of UV radiation occur between 10 am and 4 pm 1,3.

To avoid excessive sun exposure, it is best to avoid going outside between 10am and 4pm. However, if you find it impossible to refrain from being outside between those hours, then be sure to cover your skin as much as possible.

The less skin showing the better!

Dark fabrics, polyester, rayon, and wool provide the most protection from sun exposure. Avoid wearing cotton fabrics, especially when exercising outdoors, because the fabric becomes more permeable when wet with sweat.

Sand reflects 10-15% UV radiation1.

Be aware of your surroundings!

Various surfaces reflect the sun’s radiation which increases your risk of overexposure. Locations at higher elevations have more intense UV radiation than lower elevations. Even on cloudy days, 80% of the sun’s UV rays make it through the clouds3, so make sure to use UV radiation protection strategies all the time.

The weather is warmer. The days are longer. It is fun to spend time outside and enjoy the season with family and friends!

Therefore, it is really important to understand and implement all of the best methods to stay safe during sun exposure.

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1. Lynn J, Urda J, and Pierce P. Sun Exposure and Exercise. The Good, the Bad, and the Behavior Change. ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal 2016; 20(3): 11-15.

2. Ogan D, Pritchett K. Vitamin D and the Athlete Risks, Recommendations, and Benefits. Nutrients 2013; 5(6):1856-1868.

3. Renda, Elisabeth. Are You Sun Safe When You Exercise? PUBLICATION. 2015. Available at: http://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2015/06/060115_extreme.running.php. Accessed May 5, 2016.

4. MedlinePlus. Sun Exposure. Also called: Sunburn. U.S National Library of Medicine. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sunexposure.html. Accessed May 5, 2016.