With summer right around the corner, most of us will be outside more often and enjoying the sunshine. From traveling across the world, to hanging at the beach. There is one thing we can all count on when the temperature goes up; more sun exposure! While getting some sunlight is very important, it is also important to protect your skin from too much sun exposure. Here’s how you can get ready with our 5 tips for summer skin health.
1. Avoid the sun from 11am to 3pm!
Why? These are the hours that harmful UVA and UVB rays are the strongest. Both Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B rays have been linked to skin cancer and it is important to avoid going outside when these rays are the most abundant.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S, and will affect 1 in 5 Americans during their lifetime. Due to this fact, it is important to avoid excessive amounts of UVA and UVB, if possible.
2. Cover Up!
Wear clothing that covers your skin and a hat. Long sleeves and sun hats are helpful for reducing the amount of harmful rays that reach your skin. Look for clothing that have a UPF rating of 50+ as this provides the best UVA and UVB protection.
UPF is the ultraviolet protection factor and it measures the amount of UV rays the clothing blocks from reaching your skin. UPF measures the fraction of ultraviolet waves that can penetrate the clothing fabric.Example UPF 50: allows just 1/50th of sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin
3. Use sunscreen - the right way!
If you are going out, wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater.
Make sure to apply the sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go out.
Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. For adults this means 1 ounce to fully cover the body surface.
Use a broad spectrum sunscreen. This means that the sunscreen protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays, which have both been shown to cause cancer.
Use a sunscreen that is water resistant. Look for sunscreens that are water resistant (meaning they are water resistant for 40 minutes) or ‘very water resistant’ (which means they are water resistant for 80 minutes). It is important to note that sunscreens are NOT waterproof or sweatproof, so you must reapply them every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
4. Avoid tanning beds!
A “base tan” does not reduce sunburns, it just results in more overall UV exposure.UV light damages the DNA of your skin, which increases the risk of getting skin cancer.
Tanning beds can also lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots.
5. Can I use that bottle of sunscreen from last summer?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least 3 years (as long as kept in the dark and at room temperature).
Look for an expiration date on the sunscreen, some will include it, but others will not. If it is expired, throw it away because it will not be as effective. If you buy a sunscreen without an expiration date, write the date you bought it on the bottle, so you know when to throw it out (3 years from the date of purchase).
Look for changes in consistency of the sunscreen, or any changes in the color. These can be signs to throw it away and buy a new bottle.
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Check out these great resources for more skin health tips:
American Academy of Dermatology: https://www.aad.org
Skin Cancer Foundation: https://www.skincancer.org
Melanoma: How can you avoid too much sun?: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK321123/