Whether you’re too busy working or want to get that bronze glow, it’s easy to forget about protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Before you head outside, however, it’s important to remember that skin cancers—including melanoma—are among the most common forms of cancer in the United States, are damaging and can be deadly to the body, and are costly to treat. Melanoma, for example, is the most common form of cancer in young adults ages 25 to 29 years old and the rate of diagnosis is actually increasing, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
The best way to combat skin cancer is to prevent it by exercising good judgment during exposure to sunlight. Here are a few great ways to keep your skin safe in the sun:
- Apply sunscreen. Always apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, of at least 30, 30 minutes before going outside. Use sunscreen that is labeled “broad-spectrum” because it provides protection from both forms of ultraviolet rays, A and B. Also be sure to use water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen so you won’t sweat or wash off your sun protection. Be generous when applying sunscreen: most people don’t use enough. If the oils bother you, there are many oil-free varieties of sunscreen that work equally well.
- Reapply sunscreen. Usually, one application of sunscreen is not enough. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or if you have been swimming or sweating.
- Wear protective clothing and sunglasses. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses (http://www.safetygirl.com/safety-glasses-women.html) are great ways to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Some outdoor brands are now making lightweight shirts, pants, and hats, built-in SPF, as sun rays can penetrate most clothing.
- Avoid 10AM-4PM. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10AM and 4PM in most areas. If you can avoid it, stay inside on really sunny days during these hours. If you exercise outside, take your jog or walk early in the morning or in the early evening when the sun’s rays are weaker.
- Check your skin. Check your skin every year for changes and growths. If you notice anything unusual, seek medical attention immediately.
This summer, make a resolution to be safe about your sun exposure. Buy some new sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and wear lightweight long sleeve shirts, long pants, and hats when the sun is very strong. Need some new sunglasses? Check out Safety Girl’s awesome collection of sunglasses with great UV protection. Remember, even though summer tans may be sexy, your skin’s health over your entire lifetime is much more important!