Summer has officially started, and so the days we spend in the sun happen more often. Maybe it’s just a walk in the park with your kids or a day at the beach – but the sun is always “watching.”
You shouldn’t feel compelled to spend the warm and beautiful days inside just because you fear you might get a sunburn. But it is imperious that you try to avoid the sun’s damage as much as you can, because it is one of the leading causes of developing skin cancer.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, as one in 5 Americans are affected by it. Dr. Diane Rose, a Metairie dermatologist, gives us a few tips about why and how we can protect ourselves.
We all like a good-looking tan, but every time you allow the sun to “kiss” you, your skin suffers damage. If you protect it, the skin gets a chance to age gracefully, instead of becoming spotty, discolored, and wrinkled.
We all know that the sun’s power of damaging your skin is strongest from 10 am to 4 pm. If you must spend those hours outdoors, male sure you are covered up; a wide-brimmed summer hat that covers your ears and neck should do the trick, accompanied by sunglasses as eye protection.
When it comes to clothing, thicker fabrics and darker colors work best at blocking the sun – but they may be too hot to wear in the summer. However, don’t go to white T-shirts just yet; their ultraviolet protection factor is a mere 8, the equivalent of an SPF lotion with the weakest sunscreen.
If you haven’t got the chance to hide in the shades outside, your sunscreen lotion should come with at least 30 on the SPF rating. The best one is the one you like the most – maybe it’s a particular smell, or a special feeling on your skin – it doesn’t matter, as long as it makes you feel comfortable and protected.
Make sure you check the time it takes for your lotion or spray sunscreen to work – they generally take up to 30 minutes; also look for those who will protect you against both types of ultraviolet rays: A and B.
Apply sunscreen liberally, even though it’s not going to be a day at the beach. When you do go swimming, however, make sure you’ve done the sunscreen routine before putting on the bathing suit, so you’re sure it has been applied everywhere.
Exercising outside? Don’t forget to apply sunscreen under your shirt. Also, the tops of your ears and back of your neck should always be protected, as they are the most susceptible to sun damage.
If you’re aware you sweat a lot – but even if you’re a regular “sweater” – sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. Dr. Rose recommends her patients to use sunscreen each morning; it doesn’t matter if you plan to be in the sun or not.
If you know you won’t be spending a lot of time outside, there are plenty of skin moisturizers and make-up products which contain sunscreen. Either way, it’s important that you develop this healthy habit over the summer – this way, there’s no chance you will get sunburnt unexpectedly.
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