Daily exposure to the sun can be good for you. It’s a source of vitamin D and can improve your sense of well-being by stimulating the release of endorphins. Prolonged sun exposure, however, can damage your skin and break down your body’s defense against certain cancers. Sunbathe wisely to get the benefits of the sun while limiting the negative effects.

Start slowly when you begin to sunbathe. Expose your skin to the sun for fewer than 5 minutes on each side the first day. Gradually increase your time in the sun each day thereafter.

Avoid the hottest part of the day when you sunbathe. Retire to some shade from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Use a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 when you’re going to be in the sun for prolonged periods. Apply it 30 minutes before you go out and reapply every 2 hours.

Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat. Reduce your risk of cataracts with protective sunglasses.

Get plenty to drink when you sunbathe. Avoid dehydration by drinking water, sports drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages.


  • Reapply your sunscreen more often than every 2 hours when you’re in water, on a beach or near reflective objects that intensify the sun’s rays.

  • Ensure your sunscreen protects against both kinds of ultra violet radiation that penetrate the skin. UVA rays cause your skin to wrinkle and age, and UVB rays cause your skin to burn.