We all love to have tan bodies during the summer, but sun worshipers beware! Melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is also one of the most common forms of cancer and is connected to overexposure to UVA and UVB rays. Although you can have overexposure to the sun any time of the year, it’s more likely to happen during the dog days of summer. Longer days, warmer temperatures and enjoying the outdoors during the summer months makes this season a prime time to overexpose your body to the elements. By following a few simple steps, you can be on your way to a safer and healthier summer.
When you think about the term “overexposure,” you probably think about sunburns or being in the sun for extended periods of time. For example, hours upon hours enjoying the sand at the beach, right? In actuality, overexposure means any more than 15 minutes exposed to the sun before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. Anything more than that is considered overexposure.
The Difference Between UVA and UVB Rays
UVA rays are less intense than UVB rays and are more preventable as well. UVA rays are present any time of the day, even the cloudiest of days. UVB rays cause burns and reddening of the skin. UVB rays are the ones responsible for damaging the surface of the skin.
Aging and Wrinkles
Sun exposure gradually thins skin and that is what causes wrinkles. To keep the signs of aging away a little longer, it’s imperative to reduce your exposure to the sun as well as to apply sunscreen. Another idea is to invest in a few sun-proof shirts. These shirts can be found at local outdoor sporting goods stores. They’re lightweight, allowing heat to flow away from the body, but protect the skin form the sun’s harmful rays.
Tips for Staying Sun Safe This Summer
- Use sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s no longer just about a high level of SPF in your sunscreen.
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before exposure. This allows ample time for the sunscreen to be absorbed by the skin and offers the highest level of protection.
- Your eyes need just as much protection from the sun as your skin. Make sure to wear sunglasses while exposed to the sun. Today there are so many varieties you can find a pair that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Lips need love, too! Keep your lips well-protected against damaging rays by applying an SPF lip balm or ChapStick® to your lips on a regular basis. This will help keep them moisturized and soft.
- Moisturize often. Keep your skin pliable and soft by moisturizing throughout the day and throughout the year. Purchase a daily moisturizer that has at least 15 SPF (and this goes for the men as well). Women can purchase makeup with an added SPF and if your makeup doesn’t have it, make sure to apply a facial moisturizer that does before putting on your makeup.
- As always, make sure your children are protected with hats, sunglasses and clothing that covers delicate skin. Use UVA/UVB sunscreens with at least 45+ SPF. Apply sunscreen often. Although some sunscreens are water repellent, it’s still a good idea to reapply frequently to avoid sunburns.
When it’s beautiful outside, make sure you take the right steps before enjoying the sun to avoid causing damage to your skin. With these helpful tips you can keep your entire family safe this summer and all year round!