Health & Wellness • Saving yourself from the sun

We can’t do anything about the thinning ozone layer, which used to protect us better from ultraviolet rays, but humans are nothing if not resourceful. There are many new products available to us, and new ways of thinking to avoid sun damage and the problems it can cause. 

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer; there are more new cases every year than all other types combined. Most people know by now that even one bad skin burn can cause problems much later in life. It’s also worth knowing that melanomas can pop up in places that never even see the sun; i.e., your nose may look like a grilled hot dog but the dangerous mole may appear between your toes or even inside your body. 

Here are some new ideas and things you can adopt to keep yourself safer from the burn. 

Think Outside the Bottle

We use SPF for “skin protection factor” but there is also a UPF “ultraviolet protection factor.” Your average t-shirt has a UPF rating of about 5, but you can now buy clothing with a UPF 15-50 rating from sporting good stores like Bass Pro and Academy. Fisherman, golfers and other sports enthusiasts have many to choose from but both stores carry clothing for women and toddlers as well. For instance, the Dorfman Pacific Nylon Boonie Hat for Toddlers or Kids has a UPF50 rating, which is great for the sensitive skin on our youngsters with fair hair. 

Sun Sleeves are a great way to protect your arms without adding layers in the heat. Made of UPF nylon, they come in variety of colors and styles, including some that look like full-coverage tattoos. You can get those at or locally at sports stores and even Walmart.


A typical baseball cap only protects half your face, and leaves your ears and neck exposed. Luckily, the Panama Hat is making a comeback. The wide brim can reduce the risk of lobster ears and necks while also keeping direct sun rays away from your eyes in three directions. 

Oversized or wrap-around sunglasses, while they may not look as cool, are best to cut down on the rays that come at you from the top and sides. Sunglasses typically have labels that say what percentage of UVA and UVB rays they block. Locally, DICK’s sporting goods has a large selection for most budgets. 


Visit to see the UV index for the next week so you will know when sunshine will be most intense. UV forecast calculations use the predicted ozone layer thickness over Georgetown on an hourly basis. Data takes into account the angle of the sun, cloud cover and precipitation. 

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