Summer is here, which means many of you may be thinking about going to the beach or the pool to soak up some sun! While being outside in the sun can help make us happier and help our bodies produce Vitamin D, sunlight can also cause a lot of damage to our skin, such as the most common type of cancer which is skin cancer.
Here are a few ways to protect your skin this summer.
- Limit outdoor activities between 10:00am and 2:00pm or 11:00am and 3:00pm during daylight savings time.
- Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day. Clouds and particulate matter in the air can scatter sunlight making it possible to get sunburn – even on a cloudy day.
- Some drugs, or even makeup, can increase susceptibility to sunburn. Ask your pharmacist or physician if your medications can increase your risk of sunburn.
- Wear a hat and long sleeve shirt in the sun whenever possible. Tightly woven fabric offers better sun protection than loosely woven fabrics.
- Be sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of the body an hour before sun exposure. The sunscreen should then be reapplied generously every two hours while in the sun (sunscreens in an alcohol or gel base require more frequent applications). Sunscreens labeled with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or greater provide the best protection.
- Use sunscreen on your face even if you wear a hat.
- Always reapply sunscreen after swimming or heavy perspiration.
- Men should be sure to apply sunscreen to the tops of their ears and any areas of thinning hair.
- People who are at higher risks for skin cancer and degenerative changes (i.e. outdoor workers, outdoor athletes, fair-skinned people, and persons who have had skin cancer) should apply sunscreen daily during the summer or when on vacation in sunny climates.
- Tanning booths damage to the skin. Tanning booths contain bulbs that emit UV light, which can cause sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging of the skin. While a tan provides some protection against sunburn, skin damage continues to occur even in the presence of a tan. Tanning bed use, even casual use, can increase the risk of malignant melanoma by 75%!
Let’s protect our skin!