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Fun In the Sun: Your Summer Safety Guide to Outdoor Sports

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Did you know that most sun-related skin damage occurs before the age of 20? Or that that severe sunburn can cause long-term skin damage? A new infographic from National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) – just in time for the summer – helps athletes quickly review a few essential best practices for staying safe under the hot Houston sun.

Make sure you’re following these practices to protect your skin – even if you’re not under the age of 20!

11 Tips for Avoiding Sunburn In Houston

  1. Fifteen minutes before going outside, apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to dry skin.
  2. No matter your skin tone, apply sunscreen generously while outside (even when cloudy). NATA recommends using at least one ounce to cover exposed skin.
  3. Use a lip balm with at least an SPF 30 rating to protect your lips.
  4. Reapply sunscreen every couple hours and after swimming or excessive sweating.
  5. Always stay hydrated. The longer you’re in the sun, the more dehydrated your skin and body will get. (Learn more about dehydration, heat illness, and heat stroke.)
  6. Don’t forget to put sunscreen on those easy-to-forget areas like the ears and scalp.
  7. Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
  8. If participating in a sport or activity, make sure your sunscreen is sweat resistant.
  9. Stay in the shade when possible.
  10. 10.Wear large-brim hats when in the sun for extended periods of time.
  11. 11.After spending some time in the sun, apply aloe vera or lotion to your skin – even if you don’t have a sunburn.

What Does ‘SPF’ Mean?

SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” The number following “SPF” indicates how much extra protection the product affords you. For example, if you could spend 20 minutes in the sun before burning, then an SPF-15 sunscreen would allow you to spend 300 minutes (5 hours) in the sun without burning. (That’s 15 x 20 = 300.)

However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many factors working against you, including (1) proper application, (2) sweat, water and towels that may cause sunscreen to be wiped away, (3) your location, and more.

Therefore, it’s always important to apply sunscreen frequently and liberally. Keep in mind, sunscreen is only one part of a healthy “sun strategy!” It’s also very important to wear hats and sunglasses, stay hydrated, and find regular shade.

See a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor Near You

For more information, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.