Even though we had a late start to the summer, it looks like the warmth from the sun is here to stay! This means more outdoor activities, more trips down to the shore and most importantly, more exposure to the rays of the sun. While we all like a nice summer glow, there are still safety precautions that need to be taken when being out in the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are the #1 cause of skin cancer. Too much exposure can cause sunburn, eye damage, and premature wrinkles, but taking safety precautions will help lower your risk. Here are 4 ways to stay safe in the sun.
Sunscreen – The most obvious form of protection but often overlooked, sunscreen products protect against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. Look for labels that say ‘broad-spectrum’ protection and have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. Rub sunscreen lotion 30 minutes before going out into the sun and be sure to reapply every 2 hours if you are swimming or sweating.
Protective gear and clothing – When it’s hot out, the last thing you want to hear is cover up, but it may be necessary. Wearing a thin long sleeve shirt will help protect your skin if you are feeling burnt or need a break from the sun. A wide brim hat will cover all grounds: it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp. Last but not least, sunglasses can protect your eyes, but they should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
Seek shade – The sun is at its peak from 10am-4pm. You may want to limit your exposure to the sun during these hours, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you’re going to be out in the sun, be sure to seek shade from trees, patios, and other objects when possible.
Self-Evaluation – Examining your skin for any unusual bumps or spots is always important to check for possible skin cancer, which can be cured if detected early. The most important warning sign is a spot on the skin that is changing in size, shape, or color during a period of 1 month to 1 or 2 years. This can be taken in the form of sores that don’t heal, mole-like growths, wax-like pearly nodules, or red scaly outline patches. If you find such unusual skin changes, see a healthcare professional immediately.
Stay safe and have fun!