I am not a sun bunny. I have not had a tan in years and don't plan to have one anytime soon. I have had one skin cancer removed from my back and hopefully, it's the last one I will ever have. I was a sun bunny for a while when I was younger, but then I got smarter. However, I am also a gardener and enjoy being outdoors to walk or explore all the different parks we have here in New Mexico. We live on five acres, so when I say gardening, that also means all the trimming and mowing we have to do to keep our property as fire safe as possible because we are in a high wildfire danger zone. We live at an altitude of 7,000 feet, which means the atmosphere is thinner and the UV Index can get quite high. In the summer, I have seen it as high as 11, which is really bad for your skin. Given that, there are certain precautions I always take when working outside in the summer.
Precautions I take for high altitude gardening and sun protection:
1. I always work outside in the morning or evening for any chores that require that I be out in the sun, never in the afternoon. I usually quit by 11:00 a.m. and find something to do inside or in the shade and, if needed, go back out after 5:00 p.m. I avoid being out in the sun between 11 and 5. It gets pretty intense in the afternoons and on some days, when you step out in the direct sun about 2:00, it feels like it is trying to peel off your skin.
2. I cover up rather than wear sunscreen (except for my face). I have an SPF50 sun shirt (affiliate link) with a hood and thumb holes in the sleeves to keep them down over my hands and tucked inside my gloves. The hood is light weight enough to wear under my sun hat. The fabric of the shirt wicks away perspiration and helps keep me cool. I just wear a camisole underneath because a cotton t-shirt would be way too hot. You do not want to over heat, so it's important to have a shirt that helps keep you cool in summer heat. I have several and they are great for any outdoor activity in summer. I wear it with a pair of jeans, never shorts, so I am completely covered head to toe except for my face.
3. Speaking of sunscreen, I wear an SPF 35 oil free moisturizer on my face every day. My favorite, and one I have worn for years, is Neutrogena oil-free moisturizer with SPF35 broad spectrum sun screen (affiliate link). I have tried others but always come back to this one. I have had problems in the past with some moisturizers causing me to have dermatitis on my face. Not pretty. This one has never given me a problem. BUT everyone is different.
4. I always wear an extra wide brim sun hat (affiliate link). I have had a variety of hats made from a variety of materials, but my favorite is made from nylon. I never go outside without it. I like the strap under my chin because the wind blows a lot here, especially in spring when I am working on my garden beds. Nothing seems to faze it-water, tree branches, sap. It's good head protection as well as sun protection and I don't get sap in my hair from all the pines.
5. I always wear gloves. Sometimes leather gloves (affiliate link) for cutting, digging and dragging, sometimes more fitted micro foam gloves (affiliate link) for muddier chores. I keep my sun shirt sleeves tucked into the gloves, thanks to the thumb holes in the sleeves, and keep my arms and my watch covered. It also protects my watch from dirt so I can keep counting my steps as I work. Gardening is part of my daily exercise as well.
6. It is important to stay well hydrated when you are working out in the sun. It is especially important here because the climate is so dry. You loose a lot of moisture to perspiration while working and it needs to be replenished throughout the day. I drink plain water most days, but I have also resorted to the occasional sports beverage if I know I will be out all day for some reason. I keep several different options for water that I can carry outside with me. I especially like the stainless steel thermos and 30 oz cup that I have. One of them is always near by when I am working outside.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to be sensible about sun exposure. One of the first things a dermatologists usually asks is if I had any severe sunburns growing up, so it is equally important to protect the skin of children and teach them sensible sun habits. Higher altitudes are worse because the atmosphere gets thinner as you get higher. My husband is paying for years of sun exposure while in the Navy and hardly a year goes by anymore that he doesn't have to have a skin cancer removed. It may not be as scary as other forms of cancer, but it still involves painful surgery and stitches and leaves behind a scar, often on his face. So please use good sun safety practices.
Hi there! I am Jeannine.
I believe that a holistic and balanced approach to life is a must when living with an autoimmune disease. I share gluten and dairy free recipes and all the other things I do here. I just like doing stuff and making stuff.
Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. NeenieMakes.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. I make a tiny amount of money if you buy something and it in no way changes the price you pay.