- White or light-colored skin with freckles
- Blond or red hair
- Blue or green eyes (http://healthfinder.gov/nho/JulToolkit.aspx)
They additionally caution that we should avoid being outside in the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when the UV rays are the strongest. Sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher should be used every day, and if you do have to be out in the sun for long periods, cover up with long sleeves or a hat to help block UV rays. Additionally, be sure to check your skin regularly for any signs of changes that could signal problems.
For a great visual on sunscreen, SPF, and sun exposure check out this page at Information is Beautiful: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2011/the-sunscreen-smokescreen/. For more information on UV resistant clothing, check out these retailers:
- Coolibar - http://www.coolibar.com/?s_kwcid=TC|8789|uv%20resistant%20clothing||S|e|12021990134
- Sierra Trading Post - http://www.sierratradingpost.com/s~upf/
- Solartex - http://www.solartex.com/
And, for information on what skin changes you should be aware of, WebMD has a good, basic overview with images: http://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/default.htm.
Remember, though, that while we need to be cautious about over exposure to sunlight, some sunlight is actually good for us. Some of the sun's rays help our bodies manufacture vitamin D, a resource that can be important in protecting against bone deterioration (osteoporosis), heart disease, and some cancers. However, the amount of sunshine needed for vitamin D purposes is very minimal. The National Institute of Health's Medline Plus website advises that "15 minutes of sunshine three times weekly is enough to produce the body's requirement of vitamin D" (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002405.htm).
So, just be sure that you use reasonable precautions while you enjoy the sun this summer! Do any of you have ideas to share on UV protection?