Sun Safety

5 Mar

Whether you’re going on a trip or hanging out at home, spring break means spending time in the sun. Spending time outdoors can be relaxing and fun, not to mention sunlight provides your body vitamin D. But too much time in the sun without proper safety precautions can lead to painful burns or even skin cancer.

Ultraviolet Radiation

When spending all day in the sun, it is important that you do not allow your skin to be exposed to direct sunlight the entire time. Sunlight contains ultraviolet rays, known as UV rays, which damage the skin in a process called ultraviolet radiation. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate more deeply and are associated with long term aging of skin. It is the UVB rays that cause the immediate damage we know as sunburn.

If spending the day outdoors, follow these tips to prevent sun damage to your skin:

  • Limit exposure between 10am and 4pm when the sun is strongest
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat
  • Seek shade whenever possible
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection

If your sunglass lenses do not contain UV protection, you could actually be causing more damage to your eyes than wearing no glasses at all! The shade from the glasses allows your pupils to open more, which then allow the harmful UV rays to penetrate deeper into your eye.

Tanning Beds

Some people have the misconception that acquiring a base tan in a tanning bed before going out in the sun will prevent them from getting burned, but this is simply not true. Tanning beds deliver the same amount of UVB rays as the sun, and can deliver up to 12 times the amount of UVA rays as the sun. Additionally, people who believe the base tan will keep them from burning may stay out longer or wear a lower SPF, which leads to more sun damage.

Understanding SPF

Sunscreens use the measurement Sun Protection Factor (SPF) to convey the degree to which you will be protected from sunburn and UVB rays. SPF is a measure of how long you can stay in the sun without burning. The average light skinned person can stay in the sun about 15 minutes with no sun protection before they start to suffer minor sunburn. The SPF number is then multiplied by this number to determine how long the average person can stay outside.

  • SPF 15: 15 minutes x 15 = 225 minutes before burning (3.75 hours)
  • SPF 30: 15 minutes x 30 = 450 minutes before burning (7.5 hours)
  • SPF 50: 15 minutes x 50 = 750 minutes before burning (12.5 hours)
  • SPF 100: 15 minutes x 100 = 1500 minutes before burning (25 hours)

Keep in mind that reapplication is recommended every two hours, as sweating and swimming will decrease the effectiveness of sunscreen.

A lower SPF may protect you for short periods in the sun, but a sunscreen with higher SPF also filters more UVB rays from sunlight.

  • SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 block about 98% of UVB rays
  • SPF 100 blocks about 99% of UVB rays

Another important factor to look for in sunscreens is a broad spectrum sunscreen which protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Use the infographic below to easily remember and share this information. 

South of the Border Sun

These sun safety tips are good for those in North America, but if your spring break plans include a destination in Mexico, the Caribbean, South America or anywhere else closer to the equator you will need to protect yourself even more.

Near the equator, the sunlight is more direct and there is less ozone to provide additional filter. Anywhere north of the Tropic of Cancer and south of the Tropic of Capricorn is likely to have very strong sun and UV levels. In these regions you should wear at least an SPF 30 or higher if you tend to burn in North America with an SPF 30. You should also reapply more frequently when traveling to these areas.

Painful sunburns can put a damper on your spring break or even ruin your trip. By following some sun safety precautions, you can get a glow and enjoy the outdoors without causing damage to your skin.

What does SPF mean

Whether you want to spend it on some quality sunscreen, a new hat, sunglasses or something altogether different, $100 can surely help out your spring break budget! Enter below for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card, sponsored by American Safety Council.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

58 Responses to “Sun Safety”

  1. Robin Y March 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    Orlando, Florida

  2. Alexis March 5, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    My ideal Spring Break location is pretty much anywhere with sand, sun and frozen beverages. I spent many SB’s in Ft. Lauderdale which was super fun!

  3. Derek March 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    I’d definitely like to revisit the Virgin Islands, and sunblock is a must there.

  4. Cynthia C March 6, 2014 at 7:14 am #

    I would love to use a sunscreen at the beaches in Hawaii.

  5. Goldenmane March 6, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Would love to take my son and grandkids to Washington, DC for the cherry blossoms and to visit the Smithsonian. Would need sunscreen for strolling on the mall and waiting outside the Washington Monument and just walking around visiting places of interest.

  6. Sharon Kaminski March 6, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    My ideal place would be Hawaii.

  7. Natalie March 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    I would love to co go Cancun Mexico over spring break or Fort collins Colorado.

    • Daniel B March 7, 2014 at 10:39 am #

      Cancun, Mexico

  8. Heather Amos March 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Washington DC

  9. RICHARD HICKS March 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    I would like to visit sunny Key West Florida!

  10. Joclyn Woodbury March 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    i’d love to go to key west

  11. Mary Beth Elderton March 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    I’d love to use sunscreen on one of Mexico’s gorgeous beaches!

  12. Rachel March 6, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    I want to go back to NYC for spring break! It’s been way to long.

  13. Heather D March 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    I would love to go to Disney for Spring Break!

  14. Angela March 7, 2014 at 12:06 am #

    Thailand is my ideal spring break destination!

  15. veronica March 7, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    Anywhere that has a beach!

  16. nicole dz March 7, 2014 at 2:59 am #

    I would have to say California!!

  17. jose benavides March 7, 2014 at 4:17 am #

    Hawaii would be mine ..

  18. Em Robin March 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    Marco Island, Florida is great during Spring Break

  19. Tom Bellamy March 7, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    I would like to go to Maui on Spring Break.

  20. Danizilla March 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    My ideal spring break would be in the Bahamas.

  21. Darlene Carbajal March 7, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    I would go to Las Vegas for Spring Break!

  22. Diane Vescio March 7, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    I would love to go to Orlando FL

  23. kelly nicholson March 7, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    i sure have been burned enough to know better

  24. kelly nicholson March 7, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

    i really want to go to Hawaii…nut Florida will do

  25. Kyaw Sein March 8, 2014 at 3:30 am #

    Hawaii a place you never get tired of visiting

  26. sandra March 8, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    Orlando with walt Disney world would be a great destination with kids

  27. Devin March 8, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    Lakeland florida for a little spring training baseball

  28. cylina williams March 8, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Any place that has a beach and warm weather!

  29. mondie March 8, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    would definitely love to go to the carribean. 🙂

  30. Brittney House March 8, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    I would love to go to Hawaii and relax at a spa.

  31. FRANK March 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    My place would be Hawaii.

  32. Annalisa K March 8, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    The ideal spring break destination is Hawaii

  33. Katherine March 9, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    St. Simons island GA

  34. Nadine L March 9, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    I would love to go anywhere it is warm, I can feel sand between my toes and sun on my face. Anywhere but cold, snowy is fine by me

  35. Michael W Perkins March 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    Ft Lauderdale BABY!

  36. Charles V March 9, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    Las Vegas

  37. Allan March 9, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    North Shore, Oahu.

  38. Kristina S. March 9, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    My ideal spring break destination would be Thailand! I’ve seen so many beautiful pictures, I’d love to visit.

  39. Kim March 11, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    My ideal spring break destination is Hawaii!

  40. Kathryn March 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    I’d like to go to Florida!

  41. Denise Welch March 11, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    Love to go to Hawaii

  42. Evelyn Frierson March 11, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    I would love to visit Flordia

  43. thomas March 12, 2014 at 1:38 am #

    Hawaii or something else exotic.

  44. Marcus March 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    Cancun, Mexico

  45. Daniel M March 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm #


  46. Kristy Dobbs March 13, 2014 at 4:50 am #

    My ideal spring break destination would be to Italy. The weather is nice and I would love to learn more about my heritage.

  47. Angela P. March 13, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    I’d love to go somewhere sunny that my kids can enjoy.. Disney World or something!

  48. Bruce March 13, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    Anywhere warm, this year

  49. Ashley Miller March 14, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    My ideal spring break destination has always been Cancun.. I will go one of these days! =)

  50. Starr Greenwell March 14, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    I would love a spring break in Hawaii.

  51. Katara Harper March 14, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    I would like to go to Palm Springs

  52. Myrna Kasick March 14, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    My favorite spring break destination would be Cancun, Mexico.

  53. Rebecca L March 14, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    One of my favorite spring break destination is Cozumel. The snorkeling is amazing!

  54. Jacob LaFountaine March 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    I would like to go to Southern Italy to just relax for awhile

  55. ger March 14, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    I would like to go to Cancun again!

  56. Sarah L March 14, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    My ideal Spring Break would be somewhere, anywhere, as long as it was warm.
    Thanks for the contest.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Memorial Day Safety - Weekend Travel, Sun and Cooking - May 19, 2014

    […] you spend time in the sun, be sun safe! Use sunscreen of an appropriate SPF and make sure to reapply as necessary, especially if you are […]

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