Summer is right around the corner but here in Texas, it doesn’t have to be summer for the sun to grace us with its heat and harmful ultraviolet rays! When you hear the word “summer” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Pool? Vacation? Friends? Beaches? But how many of us thought of sunscreen? Probably not many. Your skin is your largest organ so we should try to protect it as much as we can. Sunscreen is for everyone, even if you don’t think that you will be out in the sun for a long time you should still apply it. Sunscreen helps to prevent skin cancer and protects you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender or race. In fact, it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.”
When you go shopping for sunscreen the options are endless so let’s breakdown what you should be looking for in a sunscreen. The sunscreen should be:
- Broad-spectrum protection (this helps to protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays)
- SPF 30 or higher
- Water resistance
These protect your skin from sunburn and early skin aging and skin cancer. But let’s face it sunscreen isn’t going to be the only thing that protects you. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that the following should be conducted to help protect your skin and find skin cancer early:
- Seek shade: the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10am-2pm. A great way to check if the rays are strong is to see if your shadow is shorter than you are, if so, then seek shade.
- Wear protective clothing: if at all possible, try to wear a light long sleeve shirt, pants, and wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to help protect your skin
- Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand: these reflect the rays of the sun and can increase chances of sunburn
- Get vitamin D safely: it can be tough to consume through diet however there are safe ways of being in the sun and getting the vitamin D you need without harming your skin. You are also able to consume the vitamin through supplements
- Avoid tanning beds: ultraviolet light from the sun and the tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. Looking tan can be achieved through self-tanning products and sunscreen should be used with it.
- Check your birthday suit on your birthday: if you notice any changes, itching or bleeding on your skin you should see medical assistance from a dermatologist. Skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early.
Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin; most adults need about 1 ounce or enough to fill a shot glass to fully cover themselves. Many people forget to cover the tops of their feet, neck, ears, and top of their head. Sunscreen should be applied to dry skin 15 minutes before sun exposure and should be reapplied every 2 hours so after swimming or sweating. Try to find a Chapstick or lip balm or even lipstick with SPF 30+ in it as well because skin cancer can also come from the lips.
While having fun this summer don’t forget to protect your skin and encourage others to do the same!
Link: Sunscreen FAQs