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The Shadow Rule and Other Safe-Sun Tips

We all love to be outside in the sparkling sunshine—in the backyard, on a hike, or attending outdoor festivals and events. Sunshine can help us feel well, but it can also cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancers. So, before you head out for fun in the sun, become “sun savvy” by learning about sun protection and practicing good sun-care habits:

  • Time it right. Limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when rays are most intense.
  • Know the shadow rule. If your shadow is shorter than you are tall, your risk of sunburn is high and it’s important to protect yourself. But, if your shadow is longer than you are tall, the sun angle is probably too low to cause a burn.
  • Only use broad spectrum. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 (SPF 15), which blocks 93% of harmful UVB rays (short-wave ultraviolet B rays); reapply every two hours and after swimming to maintain protection. Labeling laws only allow sunscreens that block both forms of UVR (ultraviolet rays)—UVA (long-wave ultraviolet A rays) and UVB—to be labeled broad spectrum.
  • Check sunscreen ingredients. Try broad-spectrum sunscreens with avobenzone, a chemical doctors consider highly effective in absorbing both long- and short-wave ultraviolet radiation.

Source: Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics

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