The beach is a wonderful place to spend a day with friends or family in the warm, Florida sunshine! But sometimes a day at the beach can be too much of a good thing. The combination of the bright sunshine overhead and the reflection of the sun on the sand and water can cause severe damage to your skin. You may not mind a little sunburn now and then. But please remember, even a mild sunburn can mean wrinkles or even deadly skin cancer a few years down the road!
During the summer, the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Volusia County Beach Safety recommends you wear a wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing at the beach, and that you always use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
For maximum effectiveness, sunscreen should be applied 30 to 60 minutes before your first exposure to the sun. This allows the sunscreen time to penetrate your skin. Always reapply sunscreen frequently during your visit to the beach. Perspiration reduces the effectiveness of sunscreen, and even waterproof products eventually are washed away by perspiration and swimming.
When buying sunscreen, look for one that advertises broad spectrum protection. The sun's rays have different components, including ultraviolet "A" and "B" light frequencies. Ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays are considered "burning rays" and are responsible for skin sunburns. But Ultraviolet-A (UVA) rays penetrate deeply into the skin, causing permanent damage that leads to a wrinkled, leathery skin appearance. Worst of all, this "silent" skin damage can result in deadly melanoma and other skin cancers.
A suntan might look good on a young body. However, that beautiful suntan also means you've damaged your skin! This damage could make you look old before your time. So please take a tip from lifeguards who tell beach visitors to "slip, slop, slap!" That means slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen and slap on a hat! Enjoy your day at the beach, but remember to be a friend to your skin, too!