Beach Smarts in Wilmington, NC

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For at least a century, residents of Wilmington, N.C., have traveled to Wrightsville Beach and the beaches of Pleasure Island to beat the summer heat. The beach is great for leisurely walks, romping in the gentle ocean waves or cruising the waterways. Check out our Wrightsville Beach Beach Smarts section for the inside scoop on beach access areas and parking, surfing, swimming, boating, tides and information about driving on the beach.

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The Sun

On the southern coast of North Carolina the skies are gorgeous, but beware of the sun's rays and intense heat. Dermatologists and health officials caution against prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and opthomologists warn that ultraviolet rays damage vision, so everyone, even small children, should wear UV protective sunglasses. By all means, enjoy your days on the beach, but keep in mind some tips to make your vacation safe and pleasurable, especially if you're determined to return home with a tan instead of a painful and peeling sunburn.

Sun Protection

No matter what your skin type, age or previous tanning experience, always wear sunscreen with the appropriate SPF (sun protection factor) when exposed to the sun. Select one with the best protection you can find and slather it on all exposed skin. Some dermogoligists even suggest applying sunscreen before dressing so your entire body is protected. Reapply after coming out of the water. Make a habit of putting on sunscreen when you are outdoors.

Skin protection is especially vital on the open beach. Sand, water and concrete surfaces can reflect 85 percent of the sun's rays. The intensity of the sun has increased in recent years so it's wise to take steps to protect your skin from burning or sun damage. Don't be fooled by a cloudy day. Ninety percent of the sun's burning rays penetrate the clouds.

Children's skiin and eyes are especially vulnerable to the sun's damaging rays and require special protection. Nearly half of the damage to skin occurs in childhood and early adolescence and much of damage leading to mascular degeneration occurs before age 5. Select colorful, fun styles for your children and guide them toward life-long eye health.

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