Summertime Sun Safety Tip
Summer is in full swing in Breckenridge – the Fun Park is full of kids of all ages, people stroll up and down Main Street clutching dripping ice cream cones, wildflowers are in full bloom, and bluebird days seem endless. If you visit Breck during the summer, you’ll know why locals and visitors alike love this season just as much as winter.
Don’t let the carefree nature of summer lure you outside before being prepared for a day in the sun. Downtown Breckenridge is 9,600 feet above sea level, and the higher up you travel, the thinner the atmosphere is. This allows more UV rays to reach the Earth’s surface which makes the high altitude sun more potent. UV intensities increase about 6 percent every 1,000 feet, so the sun’s rays in Breckenridge are almost 60 percent stronger than at sea level. Whether you’re here on vacation or you’re a local stepping outside to play in your backyard paradise, follow these sun safety tips to keep your summer epic by avoiding the awful pain of a wicked sunburn.
Slather on plenty of sunscreen
Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen to exposed areas of skin 15 minutes before you go outside – even on cloudy days. Use an SPF of at least 30 because of the increased exposure to UV rays. Lips burn, too, so don’t forget to grab a tube of SPF rated lip balm. The climate is quite dry in Breckenridge, which causes sweat to evaporate much more quickly than at sea level. This might make you think you’re not losing sunscreen to sweat when in fact you are, so remember to reapply at least every two hours.
Wear protective clothing
Clothing adds an extra layer of protection in addition to sunscreen. Be sure to wear a hat or a visor with a brim, and if the temperature allows, wear lightweight and light colored shirts and pants for activities like hiking. If you’re particularly susceptible to burning, consider wearing clothing rated with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). Eyes can also get burnt, so make sure to pack a pair of UV blocking sunglasses – for the best protection, look for a pair of shades that offer 99 – 100 percent UV protection.
If you do get burnt…
It happens to all of us. If you get burnt, take a cool shower and apply non-petroleum lotions to your skin while it’s still damp to keep it from drying out. Proper hydration is important at altitude, and this is especially true if you find yourself sunburnt. Burns will draw fluids to the surface of your skin and away from the rest of your body, so drink plenty of fluids while the burn heals.
With a little preparation, it’s easy to stay sun smart when you’re visiting Breckenridge. No matter what outdoor adventures you indulge in, slather on your sunscreen and have fun out there!