With spring in the air and temperatures rising we tend to want to frolick outdoors without a care in the world, bury our hands in the soil and allow the sun to dance merrily across out sweat-beaded brow. If we are not smart about our ventures out of doors we could end up in a world of hurt that will prevent enjoying the pasttimes we love most.

Sun Protection

Whether we are going for a walk, bike ride, mowing the lawn or preparing and tending our garden the sun should be our primary concern.  Early in the morning before 10 AM and later in the afternoon after 4 PM (preferrably after 6 PM) are the best times for outdoor activities.  During the hours of 10AM-4PM the suns UV emitting powers are at their zenith and thus skin and eye protection and proper hydration are a must.  Here are a few tips for protecting our bodies largest organ – the skin – and our precious windows to the world – our eyes.

  • Use sunblock with a UVA/UVB SPF (broad spectrum sun protection factor) of at least 30.  Look for sweatproof/waterproof varieties and apply them 15 minutes before going outside.
  • Ladies if you don’t want wrinkles and sun spots on your face – the higher the SPF the better.  If you’ve had years of unprotected sun exposure there are products out there which claim to not only protect but reverse the signs of aging and sun damage.  Personally, I’ve used Coppertone NutraShield Faces Sunscreen Lotion with Broad  Spectrum UVA/UVB 70+SPF.  In the couple of years I’ve used it I have not noticed any new sun damage and it’s definitely kept my skin from getting burnt.  Because it has a nice feel to it I have used it on my shoulders, chest and neck and on my little girls exposed skin when we have outdoor activities.  Sometimes the higher SPF lotions can feel sticky, but this one is very pleasant feeling more like lotion and absorbs quickly.  Great for under makeup.
  • There are special SPF treated clothes with UPF of 50+. These can be rather expensive, but would prevent the need for using SO much SPF lotion, although levels of protection are always better.  Maybe not the best for gardening activities if you are going to be mucking around in the mud and dirt, but for athletic endeavors or just being outside when it’s really sunny the UPF treated clothes would be a great option.  They even have this available in hats and bathing suits
  • Do you have thin hair, extremely fair skin or are balding? If so, then please, wear a wide brimmed hat to protect the delicate skin on your head and the back of your neck.  Since this skin is not used to UV exposure it will burn, to a crisp, if you are not careful.
  • DON’T FORGET TO COVER THE TOPS OF YOUR EARS WITH SPF LOTION.  We get so wound up in making sure we cover our faces, necks, shoulders, arms, backs and legs that we forget one of the most tender areas of skin on our bodies – the tops of our ears.  If you don’t want to lose this tender area to cancer, please, protect it.  Add a wide brimmed hat to your outfit just in case.

  • Protect Your Eyes From The Sun
  • You only have one set of eyes – protect them.  If you wear glasses make sure that you have sunglasses that go over them, get Transitions lenses or prescription sunglasses. If you do not have any of these options available, at least remove your glasses and put on a pair of regular sunglasses.  Why is this so important?  Your glasses act like a magnifying glass for the suns rays and will severely damage your eyes even leading to blindness if you are not careful.

  • Hydrate and Cool Your Body from the Inside Out
  • Water is your best friend.  Make sure you drink plenty before going outside on a particularly hot and steamy day.  Take a tumbler filled with ice cold water outside with you so you can continue to sip on this life saving liquid.  Remember how nice it feels to immerse yourself in a cool pool of water on a super hot day?  Well think of how appreciative your stomach, heart, lungs and brain will be if you make sure to keep them cool as you work or play.
  • Listen to your body.  The hotter it is and the harder you work the less able your body is to keep it’s core temperature down.  We start to feel lightheaded, whoosy and shaky.  It’s best to not let it get this far, but if we haven’t been smart to begin with then the least we can do is know when to STOP.  STOP working.  STOP staying out in the sun.  STOP for a cool drink.  STOP for a rest in the shade or an air conditioned room.
  • Guys, this goes for you too – acting macho today could mean not having you around tomorrow.  There is nothing sexier then a man who knows how to be responsible for his health because that means he is aware of how much his family loves and needs him.

Amazon.com has a plethora of products from cosmetics to water bottles which will help you achieve your sun protection and hydration needs.  For your convenience I’ve included a small Amazon store here for you to search and review sun protection products.