As the weather gets warmer, many of us will be spending more time outdoors under the strong summer sun. While the sun’s effect on our bodies can be beneficial, we take a great risk exposing our skin to sunlight without taking the proper precautions.
This summer, ensure that both you and your family are enjoying the sun safely. Below are some tips for safe sun exposure that can help prevent you and your loved ones from developing skin cancer.
- Apply sunscreen about 15 to 30 minutes before kids go outside so that a good layer of protection can form.
- Apply about one ounce of sunscreen in order to thoroughly cover all of your exposed skin.
- Reapply sunscreen often, approximately every 2 hours. Reapply after a child has been sweating or swimming.
- The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It’s best to limit your direct exposure between those times.
- Apply a lip balm that offers SPF protection and reapply throughout the day.
- Choose wrap-around sunglasses that absorb at least 99% of UV rays to protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes.
- Wear light, breathable clothing.
- Choose a sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection.
- Babies under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight and layered lightly with clothing.
- Use extra caution near water and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
- Check the daily UV index; the higher the number, the greater the need for eye and skin protection.
- Wear sunscreen under your clothing – a basic T-shirt only provides protection equal to SPF 5-8.
May is National Skin Cancer Awareness and Melanoma Awareness Month. According to SkinCancer.org,
Skin cancer is a lifestyle disease, affecting young women, older men and everyone in between. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime; 13 million Americans are living with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer, and nearly 800,000 Americans are living with a history of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
But there is good news. Because skin cancer is chiefly a lifestyle disease, it is also highly preventable. Reduce your skin cancer risk by taking the recommended steps listed above.