SPF 101: Embracing Sun Safety, Your Guide to a Wellness-Focused Summer

SPF 101: Embracing Sun Safety, Your Guide to a Wellness-Focused Summer

August 10, 2023

Recognizing August as National Wellness Month holds special significance for veterinary professionals and staff, who tirelessly prioritize the well-being of their animal patients. This month serves as a poignant reminder to extend that same level of care to themselves. As the sun's warmth envelops the summer season, veterinary professionals should bear in mind that safeguarding their health is a multifaceted journey that includes sun safety.

Understanding Sun Safety
The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause sunburn, premature aging, and increase the risk of skin cancer. Sun safety isn't about avoiding the sun altogether; it's about being smart and proactive while enjoying its benefits. Whether you're lounging by the pool, hiking through nature, or simply going for a walk, taking steps to protect your skin is key. While you enjoy time outside of your veterinary hospital this month, remember these valuable tips. 

Top Sun Safety Tips
1. Apply Sunscreen Regularly: Sunscreen is your best defense against harmful UV rays. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it generously to all exposed skin, including your face, neck, arms, and legs. Reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.
2. Seek Shade: The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, seek shade during these hours to reduce your exposure. Umbrellas, wide-brimmed hats, and protective clothing can also provide additional shelter.
3. Cover Up: Wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and sunglasses with UV protection can shield your skin and eyes from direct sunlight. Lightweight, breathable fabrics can keep you cool while safeguarding your skin.
4. Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration is vital for maintaining healthy skin, especially in the sun. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration and support your skin's natural defenses.
5. Avoid Tanning Beds: Artificial tanning beds emit UV radiation that can be just as harmful as natural sunlight. Instead of risking your skin's health, embrace your natural skin tone and opt for sunless tanning alternatives if you desire a bronzed glow.
6. Practice Lip Protection: Don't forget about your lips! Apply a lip balm with SPF to shield your delicate lip skin from sunburn.

By embracing the guidelines outlined above and making conscious choices while enjoying the summer sun, veterinary professionals honor not only their commitment to pets but also their commitment to self-care. As you navigate the delicate balance between your responsibilities and personal health, let August's rays serve as a reminder that, just as we protect those pets under our care, we must also protect ourselves.

Written by: Saajan Bhakta, PhD (Psychology), Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional, Director, Employee Experience

Sun safety resource: https://www.skincancer.org/