Summer is here! Now that the weather has warmed up and we are spending more time outside enjoying the sun, we also need to be more cautious. While the warm sun feels good on our skin, it can be damaging and may contribute to a number of long-term conditions. Here are some summer sun safety tips to keep your skin protected from the sun’s harmful rays while still allowing you to enjoy the weather.
- Apply Sunscreen Often (And Properly). While it is recommended that you wear sunscreen every day in all weather, this is especially true in the summer. We tend to spend more time outdoors this season, and even a simple daily lunchtime stroll can result in larger amounts of cumulative skin damage. When purchasing sunscreen, check the SPF - or sun protection factor - on the product, and ensure that you are using a product with a minimal SPF of 30. Additionally, always be sure the label says broad-spectrum, which protects skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Once you have picked a sunscreen, try to apply it 30 minutes before heading outside to ensure the product properly dries and settles into the skin. You should also reapply it every 2 hours, especially if you are swimming or sweating. And if you absolutely hate sunscreen, you’ll be happy to hear that many foundations and other makeup products include SPF in them - so check your bottles and purchase products that contain SPF.
- Don’t Forget Other Sun Protection Products. Sunscreen is one the most effective sun blocking tools, but there are plenty of other ways to keep UV rays at bay. You can keep your eyes safe by wearing sunglasses with UV protection lenses. Cataracts, retina damage, and other harmful eye conditions can arise when eyes are exposed to the sun without proper protection. You can also wear wide brimmed hats to protect your scalp and face, and putting on long sleeved shirts and pants adds an extra layer of protection.
- Properly Treat Sunburn. If you forget to wear sunscreen, or don’t reapply it frequently, you may find yourself with a sunburn. Cool baths or showers can help ease some of the pain and relax the skin. After bathing, apply aloe vera or or a soy moisturizer to aid in the cooling process, which also prevents the skin from drying out or peeling. Because sunburns cause fluids to stay at the skin’s surface, you run the risk of dehydration, so always drink plenty of water. During the healing process, take extra care of your skin, especially in the areas that have been burned. Wear loose clothing with tightly-woven fabrics that covers the burned area. If burns are more severe, blistering, or aren’t properly healing, consult your doctor. (An important thing to remember, however, is that even mild sunburns can greatly increase your risk of skin cancer. So while properly treating the symptoms of one is important, prevention is even more so!)
- Check Your Skin Frequently. Aside from burns, the sun can contribute to other developments on the body and skin, like uneven pigmentation, scaly patches, melanoma, or skin cancer. If you’re out in the sun often, it’s important to check your skin for any new freckles or marks, as these can be an indicator of your overall skin health. An effective method of examining suspicious moles or markings is the ABCDE Evaluation. Check all moles and marks for asymmetry, border irregularity, changes in color, a diameter greater than six millimeters, and evolving size. Make notes of anything new that has appeared or markings that have changed and consult your doctor or dermatologist for proper diagnosis.
There are plenty of ways to keep our bodies safe from the sun and decrease our risk of skin cancer and other conditions. Additionally, if you have specific skin concerns or want to know about other ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from the sun’s rays, contact Genesis Medical. Schedule an appointment at your nearest location and we will be more than happy to assist you with your sun care regimen.