SOS: Swimming, Outdoors, Sunscreen
When you’re enjoying the pool, you’re also being exposed to the sunshine pretty regularly. Contrary to popular belief, the sun’s rays also make their way through clouds and overcast skies. Therefore, unless it’s raining or dark, you are always exposed to the sun’s rays, even if minimally. It’s possible to get sunburnt while playing in the snow just as easily as it is in the water. Sunlight is easily reflected off the water’s surface and absorbed by your skin. In this blog, we’re going to cover swimming, the outdoors and sunscreen and how to protect yourself.
Sunscreen To Protect Against UVA, UVB Rays
The sun’s rays are primarily composed of UVA and UVB rays. For informational purposes, UVA stands for Ultraviolent A rays and UVB stands for Ultraviolent B rays. There is such a thing as UVC rays, but they live between the ozone and our skin’s surface. They’re not absorbed. On the contrary, UVA rays are absorbed deep into our skin’s layers, while UVB is absorbed on our skin’s surface.
When under the sun, it’s important to apply sunscreen with the proper SPF ratings. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number associated with it is a factor of time in how long you can go between applying and reapplying. Here’s an example: “If your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer).” — Source: Badgerbalm
A safe bet to purchase and apply regarding sunscreen is between SPF 30 and SPF 50. Studies have shown that any sunscreen classified above SPF 50 is marginally improved.
Other Forms Of Protection Against UVA, UVB
These options can be used whether you’re in the pool or outside in the sunlight. Wear clothing (preferably light in color and thin) anytime you’re under the sun to protect against UVA and UVB exposure. Protecting your eyes can be as simple as wearing sunglasses to minimize glare. Over time, damage to your corneas is quite possible without wearing sunglasses. Men and women alike can wear hats to keep their scalp safe as well.
It’s always good to have options. Therefore, consider joining a fitness club with an indoor lap pool for exercise without the sun exposure. Time is another good form of protection. By ‘time’, we mean being out in the sun at the opportune times. It’s a fact that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Swim around those high-risk hours for added protection. Still, outside those hours, when the sun is a bit less harsh, wear sunscreen.
When applying sunscreen, be sure to apply it at least 20 minutes before going out into the sun. If you apply it and walk right out into the sun, there’s a good chance it will become ineffective. However, if you give your skin time to absorb the sunscreen, it will more effectively combat your sun exposure. The rays will be blocked on and under the surface because the protection has sunken in. It’s easy to feel like the sunscreen is working, but it can easily come off in the water. Your protective barrier is floating in the water and now you only think you’re protected when, in fact, you’re not. Stay safe and let it sink in beforehand!
Diet Still Plays A Role
Yes, diet is included in ways to prolong your health while in the sun. Often times, an extremely hot day can lower one’s appetite. Lots of sun exposure can drain you. Ensure you’re drinking plenty of water and eating, even if it’s light food in the heat or outdoors in the sun. Sure, alcoholic drinks go hand-in-hand with sitting poolside. Simply put, you’re dehydrating yourself twice as fast. If you’re going to have fun, be sure to do so safely.
Erik’s Aquatic Care is always here to answer questions you may have as a current or future pool owner. Cheers!