Save Your Skin Foundation’s National Sun Awareness Week is June 6 – 12. It is designed to highlight the dangers of over-exposure to the sun and to promote safe behaviours. Summer is here and so are the beautiful sun-shining days! Take this time to learn about staying hydrated, sun safety tips, and vitamin D. Keep on shining!
Stay Hydrated – How much water should you be drinking?
To keep your body hydrated, aim for a daily fluid intake of about 2 – 3 litres (9 – 12 cups) per day, based on your body size and activity level.
When you are more active, and the weather is hotter, you will need to increase your intake. Learn about sports hydration here.
Water is one of the best fluid choices, but you can also drink other beverages such as milk, juice, broth/soups, coffee and tea.
Signs of Dehydration
- Dry lips and mouth
- Flushed skin
- Headache, dizziness, fainting
- Low blood pressure, increase in heart rate
- Dark, strong smelling urine
If you feel any of these dehydration symptoms, do the following:
- Stop your activity and rest
- Get out of direct sunlight and find a cooler spot if possible
- Prop up your feet and take off unnecessary clothing
- Drink a rehydration drink:
- Combine 1 cup of juice (preferably apple), 2 cups of water, pinch of salt
- Sports drink will also work
Maximizing Your Vitamin D from Safe Sun Exposure & Diet
We get vitamin D from three sources; synthesis by the skin following exposure to sunlight; eating foods that contain vitamin D; and taking vitamin D supplements. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the portion of sunlight that stimulates human skin to produce vitamin D. However, UVB rays are also the major cause of sunburns and can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
The good news is that you don’t need to tan to get benefits from the sun. The amount of sun exposure needed to produce enough vitamin D depends on age, diet, skin colour, where you live, and how strong the sun is. For most people, just a few minutes in the sun every day during summer months will be enough.
Six Steps to Protect your Skin
I’m sure most of us have experienced sunburn at some point and we know, it’s not nice. To avoid the discomfort and minimize your risk of skin cancer, practice these tips!
- Avoid sun burning, intentional tanning, and using tanning beds.
- Use sunscreen properly.
Sunscreens are rated by the strength of their SPF. The SPF tells you the product’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s UVB rays. Use SPF 30 or higher that is labelled broad-spectrum and use a lipbalm with SPF.
Don’t forget your ears, neck, tops of your feet and any bald spots!
- Wear sun-protective clothing, wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun is to cover up. Make sure you choose close-fitting sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection in a wraparound style.
- Check the UV Index and plan accordingly.
On days when the UV reaches 3 (moderate) or higher, you need to be diligent in protecting your skin, face, and eyes. In Canada between April and September, the UV Index can be 3 or more from 11am – 3pm, even when it’s cloudy.
- Seek shade.
If your shadow is shorter than you, it’s time to find some shade. Seek shade especially between 11am – 3pm.
- Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand. The rays reflect!
- Get vitamin D from your diet first and vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body. We all need adequate vitamin D from our diet to help our bodies absorb and use calcium and phosphorous for strong bones and teeth as well as reduce the risk of osteoporosis and certain cancers. Learn more about vitamin D and rich food sources.
Want to know more?
- Summer is Coming – June 2015 Healthy UBC Newsletter article
- How to Pick the Right Suncreen – and Use it Properly – Tips from Sunil Kalia, UBC Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Skin Science
- Sun Safety Tips for Parents – tip sheet for parents
- Sun Sensitivity Test – quick survey tool
- Extreme Heat/Heat Waves – detailed safety tips