The Sun Is Out!

     Now that the sun has finally decided to shine it’s time to think about sun protection.  Those summer rays don’t only cause ugly brown spots and wrinkles but also nasty burns and cancer.  Paddling on a Boundary Waters lake on a sunny day could result in a painful burn but there are a number of ways you can protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun.

     The best defense is a good offense they say, so should we mount a good defense or offense against the sun?  I’m going to say the first move a person should make against the sun is staying out of the sun during the time when the rays are most harmful.  The hours from 10am-2pm are when the ultraviolet rays are the strongest.  If you can plan to recreate earlier or later than those hours then that’s a good start in protection.

     The clothing you choose to wear or not wear can also prevent the harmful rays from getting to your skin.  There are a number of clothing lines that can block out up to 98% of the harmful UV rays.  There are tightly woven fabrics and fabrics made with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and other chemicals to block out the sun.  A wide brim hat is a necessity for any fight against the sun; the bigger the brim the better. 

     Then there’s the essential item needed in the fight against the sun, sunscreen.  No matter if it is winter or summer, sunny or cloudy the sun’s harmful rays can reach you.  It’s important to slather on the sunscreen every morning and then reapply as often as necessary.  For sunscreen to work the best you should check the expiration date since most expire after 3 years.  Use at least an ounce of sunscreen to cover your body and put it on at least 30 minutes before you go into the sun. 

     By following the above recommendations you should be able to enjoy the sun safely.  Remember to protect yourself against the harmful rays and then have fun in the sun.