4 Summertime Sun Safety Tips
Summer will be here before we know it. With warmer weather and longer days, many people find additional time to spend outdoors. Whether you find yourself working in the yard or relaxing by the pool, it’s a good idea to take proper sun safety precautions to keep your skin healthy and safe.
Wear Sunscreen Daily
Summertime or anytime, it’s important to wear sunscreen every day. Remember, even on cloudy days, it’s important to protect your skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds.” Winter is another time is important to think about your skin, as snow can reflect up to 80% of UV rays and increase your exposure to the sun’s damaging effects. While we often think about sunscreen in the summertime, it’s important to remember to faithfully apply it all year long.
Limit Sun Exposure During Peak Times of Day
Many of us know that the sun’s rays are most powerful during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. It is extra important to be vigilant during those times. If you are outdoors and are not sure what time it is, you can use the shadow test and remember: short shadow, seek shade. In other words, when your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest. You can limit your exposure during these times by finding shade, wearing protective clothing and slathering on the sunscreen.
Choose The Right Sunscreen
It is important to note that sunscreen should not be your first line of defense in your sun safety practices. This is because sunscreen acts as a filter, but does not completely block out all UV rays. The American Cancer Society recommends a broad spectrum sunscreen (blocks both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or more. This time of year, it is a good reminder to check the expiration dates on your sunscreens. Most are good for 2-3 years, but always check the date. You may need to shake the bottle to remix the ingredients. And, don’t forget, sunscreen may become less effective when they have been subjected to higher temperatures. Have you left your sunscreen in the trunk or taken it to your tropical beach vacation? The heat may have decreased its effectiveness. When in doubt, throw it out!
Check Your Moles
If you’ve noticed a new or suspicious-looking mole, you should watch it carefully for changes in size, color and shape. Use the ABCDE rule, and tell your doctor if you are unsure or suspect melanoma.
Remember to keep yourself and your children sun safe this summer and in every season of the year! To learn more about the signs and symptoms of melanoma or to see examples of normal moles and melanomas, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.