Be Safe on the Fourth of July

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Outside activities are the norm for the Fourth; but while having fun, protect yourself from the environment. Use the correct sunscreen and protective clothing. All sunscreens including those in cosmetics should be duo spectrum: they should protect from UVB (burn) and UVA (aging) rays. There is controversy concerning what is the best “number” of sunscreen to use. Keep in mind that the number indicates the length of time a person can stay in the sun before burning. If you burn in ten minutes, a 30 SPF would protect for 300 minutes. However, sunscreen must be reapplied every 3 to 4 hours to maintain effectiveness. In cosmetics, 30 SPF is one of the most chemically stable. However, a higher SPF is appropriate for over-all body protection. If you are going to be in the water, be sure to use sunscreen that doesn’t wash off.

Regular clothing or hats provide little UV protection unless the items are specifically made to provide sun protection. A regular straw hat blocks only 6% of UV rays. Tilley hats and Sunveil hats block almost all UV rays. However, hats should have wide brims and deep crowns so they fit low on the face. Chemically treated clothing protect as well. Be aware that multiple washings can eventually wash away much of the protection. Sunveil open-weave clothing does not have a chemically applied sunscreen. The weave of the fabric protects from the sun and mosquitoes. The garments are sheer and require clothing underneath.