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Protecting the Skin from UV Rays

While there are many benefits of spending time in the sun such as getting a boost of vitamin D supply, the sun’s UV rays can be harmful if we don’t take precautions to protect our skin in the sun.

The sun gives off two different types of UV rays, both of which can be dangerous:

(i) UVA rays are responsible for sunburn, hyperpigmentation, and skin cancer.

(ii) UVB rays can contribute to skin aging and skin cancer.

Although both types of UV rays can negatively affect the skin, UVB rays are more likely to cause skin cancer, including melanoma.

Hence, sharing some tips on how to protect your skin from the bright sunlight and UV rays:

1. Use Sunscreen

  • Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to protect the skin from UV rays.
  • If you have been swimming, sweating, used a towel to wipe your body and have spent more than 2 hours in the sun, apply sunscreen on again.

2. Peak Sun time

  • Avoid scheduling outdoor activities between 10am – 4pm.

3. Get a Shade

  • When in the sun, seek a shady area under the tree or umbrella to reduce exposure to UV rays.
  • Even when in shade or indoors, remember to protect your skin with sunscreen.

4. Outfit choices

Outfits that offer good protection:

  • Outfits that protect the limbs like long pants and long sleeve shirts.
  • Dark or bright colored clothing reflects the UV rays rather than allowing them to penetrate.
  • Clothing with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label.
  • Polyester, Nylon do a good job in absorbing UV lights.
  • Wool and silk do a moderate job in absorbing the UV light.
  • Loose-fitting apparel

Outfits that offer less protection:

  • Outfits that do not protect the limbs like shirt and shorts.
  • White colored clothing absorbs UV rays.
  • Cotton, rayon, flax and hemp fabrics are poor UV absorbers.
  • Tight-fitting apparel as the apparel material stretches, reduce the level of protection offered and allows more UV rays to pass through.

5. Hat Choices

  • Get a hat which covers your face, ears and the back of your neck.
  • A canvas hat which is made of tightly woven fabric protects the skin from UV rays better than straw hats with holes that let sunlight through.

6. Get your Sunglasses On

  • Sunglasses protect the eyes and the tender skin around the eyes from UV rays.
  • Go for wraparound sunglasses.

Don’t forget your covered shoes/ slippers as well.


1. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation. American Cancer Society.

2. What to Wear to protect your skin from the Sun?  American Academy of Dermatology Association.

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