Summer is on the way, which means it will soon be time to go to the beach, sit by the pool, go camping, or otherwise spend time outdoors. All of that is fun, but it can be bad news for your skin. The sun may feel good; it does not do our skin any favors.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has said that one in five Americans will develop some type skin cancer at some point in their lives. Skin cancer is also the most common type of cancer in the U.S.
Too much sunlight has also been associated with premature aging of the skin, which can take the form of wrinkles, age spots, and dryness. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays may also cause cataracts. There are ways, though, to enjoy the summer and protect your skin.
Always Wear Sunscreen
The ideal sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 30 and be water resistant, so water and sweat do not easily remove it. The higher the SPF the better, but sunscreen with an SPF of 30 can deflect 97 percent of the sun’s rays that are responsible for sunburn. A good sunscreen should also offer broad-spectrum protection, which means it protects the user against both UVB light and UVA light. Both forms of ultraviolet light cause skin cancer, so you want to defend your skin from both. Lip balm should also be worn, since the lips are a common site for cancer.
Wear a Hat and Protective Clothing
A broad-brimmed hat can protect your scalp and ears from the sun’s rays. Dark clothing absorbs UV rays and thereby keeps it aware from your body. Clothes made from satiny silk, high-luster polyesters and unbleached cotton can absorb ultraviolet light. In addition, clothes with tight weaves or knits block UV rays.
Since prolonged exposure to sunlight can damage your eyes, they need to be protected, too. Dark gray or brown sunglasses are best for this. They also need to be impact resistant and offer UV 400 protection. That last means the glasses block up to 400 nanometers of UV light.
Keep an Eye on the Kids
Children are actually more vulnerable to the sun than adults are. A bad sunburn that causes blisters during childhood doubles the chances of skin cancer later in life. According to the AAD, children have gotten 80 percent of their sun exposure by the time they reach 18.
Both children and adults should avoid being out in the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sun is at its strongest and most intense during those hours. Babies under six months old need to be kept out of the sun altogether.
Contact Dermatology Associates
At Dermatology Associates, we take skin care very seriously. We know that many people want a summer tan and may take unsafe measures to get that bronze glow. It’s important to wear sunscreen every day, and always apply it before you step outside. A tan will fade, but skin cancer can be detrimental. Contact Dermatology Associates to find out more summer skin care tips or to schedule your annual skin exam.