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Summer Sun Safety Tips

Summer is here! It is good for most adults and children to spend time playing and exercising outdoors. The sun even provides some health benefits such as helping us maintain normal vitamin D levels. However, you can have too much of a good thing! Prolonged sun exposure and sunburn dramatically increase your risk for developing skin cancers, the most common form of cancer.

Below are some simple tips that might help you protect yourself and your family from harmful UV rays:

  • Always keep babies younger than six months old out of direct sunlight.
  • When possible, dress in cool and comfortable clothing that covers the body. Clothes made with a tight weave are preferred and provide better protection from the sun. Some clothes are specifically designed for UV protection and will be labelled with the letters “UPF” which stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor.
  • Wear a hat that completely shields the face, ears, and back of the neck.
  • Wear sunglasses! Parents and children should wear sunglasses whenever possible. Youth sizes are available for kids. Your sunglasses should have at least 99% UV protection.
  • Try to plan most of your activities when the UV index is at its lowest, usually before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m.

Speaking of sunscreen, let’s discuss which sunscreens to use and how to apply them:

  • Everyone needs sunscreen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Anyone can get skin cancer regardless of age, gender, or race.
  • Broad-spectrum sunscreens (sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays) are recommended.
  • Waterproof sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is recommended.
  • Sunscreen should be applied everyday whether you’re piddling around town or spending time relaxing on the beach. Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate your skin!
  • Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 80-120 minutes. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your lips, the tops of your feet, your neck, your ears, and top of your head.
  • Apply enough sunscreen to cover the parts of your body not covered by clothing. Most adults will need at least 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover their body.
  • Here are some ideas to help you apply sunscreen to specific areas of the body:
    • Creams are best for dry skin and the face.
    • Gels are good for hairy areas, such as the scalp or the male chest.
    • Sticks are good to use around the eyes.
    • Sprays are sometimes preferred when applying sunscreen to kids because they are easy to use. Make sure you use enough to cover your child’s exposed skin and try not to inhale these products when used. Some sprays may be flammable so do not apply these near a heat source, near an open flame, or while smoking.

Following some simple suggestions can go a long way in preventing you from developing skin cancer! Take the time take care of your skin!

If you want a more in-depth review of sun safety tips, check out this link.

It was written by a bunch of skin doctors. I bet they know what they are talking about!

Have a great summer!

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