It’s finally July! Time to head out to the beach and soak up all the sun you can! It’s time to get that gorgeous tan that you have been waiting to get all year long. But, with the added sun exposure, there is a risk for damage to your skin and eyes. That is why July has been named UV Safety Awareness month. It is important that you practice sun safety all year long, not just in the summer. This will help you avoid getting skin cancer or developing problems with your eyes later in life.
What Harm Can Sun Exposure Cause?
- Suppress Your Immune System
- Cause Skin Cancer
- Prematurely Age Your Skin
- Cause Vision Problems and Damage Your Eyes
How Can I Protect my Skin?
- Avoid Sunburn: Contracting a sunburn increases an individual’s risk of developing skin cancer.
- Go for Shade: Stay out of the sun when, especially during peak burning hours (between 10 am and 4 pm)
- Cover Up: Wearing a hat or other shade protective clothing can partially protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Long sleeved shirts and pants are good examples of protective clothing. Remember to protect your eyes (with sunglasses) and face with a hat. Sun protection is important ALL year long, not just summer.
- Choose the Right Sunscreen: New sunscreen regulations recommend sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and protect against both UV A and UV B rays
- Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen: You need to apply at least 1 ounce (palmful) of sunscreen every 2 hours. You should apply more often if you are sweating or swimming, even if sunscreen is labeled waterproof
Other ways to avoid damaging your skin are avoiding tanning beds and sun lamps, because these increase your chances of developing skin cancer! The American Cancer Society recommends that if you want to have a beautiful tan, then the key is to use sunless tanning lotion, which can provide the tan without the risks of cancer.
Don’t forget, enjoy your summer days, but stay sun safe while you do!