Summertime is here! Along with the many joys of summer, such as vacations, beach days and picnics, there is an inherent risk: harmful sun exposure. Experts estimate that over half of Americans will get sunburnt when they spend time outside – even if they have applied sunblock. As a result, over 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, the most common form of cancer according to the American Cancer Society.
When the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit the skin, it can damage the DNA molecules and cause them to crack apart. That’s why Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, says “Taking care of [your skin] is so important at any stage of your life. Damage from the sun accumulates over time.”
The American Cancer Society has a "Slip! Slop Slap!" campaign that recommends precautionary measures for skin protection. The following tips will help maximize sun safety and help keep your skin burn-free.
Apply Enough Sunscreen
Many Americans don’t realize that a pre-cursory spray of sunblock before they leave the house isn’t enough to protect them from sunburns. A "palm-full" of sunscreen SPF 30 or higher should be applied every few hours you are outside, more frequently if you are sweating or swimming.
So after you apply sunscreen at home, make sure to pack the bottle!
Always try to wear a shirt, a hat and UV-protected sunglasses to minimize your exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Make sure any skin that is exposed is protected either by a physical or sunscreen barrier.
Seek Shade During Peak Hours
Make a point to lounge in the shade during the sun’s peak hours - 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. During these hours, the sun’s rays are strongest and most harmful to your skin.
“The importance of protecting your skin can last a lifetime,” explains Dr. Lichtenfeld. Utilizing these tips can help you avoid the unpleasantness of a sunburn this summer – and protect your skin for many years to come.
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