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The Phiz Biz: Sun Exposure - Good or Bad?

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - There are several factors to help protect overexposed skin from the sun by understanding ultraviolet radiation, environmental factors and protective measures. (Courtesy graphic)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - There are several factors to help protect overexposed skin from the sun by understanding ultraviolet radiation, environmental factors and protective measures. (Courtesy graphic)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Whenever someone is outside apply protective measures including covering exposed skin, wear sunscreen and stay in the shade. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Whenever someone is outside apply protective measures including covering exposed skin, wear sunscreen and stay in the shade. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - -- (Spoiler Alert: It's Both)

Get outside and spend some time in the sun! In addition to being fun, time in the outdoors can do some really positive things for your health. Some of the benefits of sunshine include boosting your mood, calibrating your circadian rhythm and providing your body with a much-needed dose of vitamin D. However, overexposure to sunlight can also pose some very serious health hazards. Knowing the risks (and how to mitigate them) can help you maxim-ize your outdoor enjoyment without jeopardizing your future well-being.

What Harm Can It Do?


Quite a lot, unfortunately! Here are some of the dangers associated with overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UVA & UVB) radiation:
  • Sunburn: whether it’s just mildly painful redness or a blistered mess, sunburns mean you’ve overdone it and skin damage has occurred. Sun-burns present a greater risk for people with paler skin tones.
  • Photokeratitis: essentially a sunburn of the eyes, is a painful condition often described as a “gritty, sandy feeling,”. Overex-posure of the cornea and whites of your eyes to UV rays can even lead to permanent eye damage.
  • Skin Damage: when it comes to sun exposure, everyone is at risk regardless of skin color. Exposure to UV can cause dam-age to the DNA in your skin cells. This damage is cumulative; it builds up over time, leading to premature aging and vari-ous types of skin cancer. Be careful, that “healthy tan” is actually an indication of skin damage!
Environmental Factors

There are some environmental conditions that can increase our risk of overexposure. These conditions vary, but they all have the same effect: they increase the amount of UV radiation that can get to you.
  • Latitude and time of day: it may seem like a no-brainer, but the sun’s relative angle determines how much UV light you’re subjected to. As we get closer to the equator, UV exposure increases along with the risk of sun damage. Additionally, the hours of greatest exposure are between 1000 and 1600 — these are the times when it pays the most to be cautious.
  • Altitude: when we increase our altitude, we also decrease the amount of UV-blocking atmosphere between ourselves and the sun. According to the World Health Organization, every 1,000m climb in altitude increases UV levels by 10%.
  • Reflective surfaces: snow, water, and sand are all examples that reflect sunlight back up at us, increasing the amount of radi-ation that we absorb.
Protective Measures

Whether you’re outside for five minutes or five hours, there are ways to mitigate the detrimental effects of ultraviolet radiation. Keep in mind, UV exposure can be almost as bad on cool or cloudy days!
  • Cover up: wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, or tightly-woven clothing helps limit the amount of UV that hits your body.
  • Wear sunscreen: Experts agree for extended exposure, use a sun-screen with a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher to protect yourself from both UVA and UVB. Don’t forget to reapply sun-screen as directed!
  • Stick to the shade: minimizing your time in direct sunlight goes a long way towards keeping your skin healthy.

We are human performance enhancement consultants. Here for you—providing a multitude of services. Call today 719-556-4185 to see how we can help your organization!

 

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