Sun Safety Awareness

Posted on May 25, 2016
Fashionable woman in coat, scarf and hat outdoors

Keeping your skin safe from the sun is important for your health as well as your appearance. With constant reminders to protect our skin from the sun, including a day designated as “Don’t Fry Day”, assigned by The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, you would think that many of us know the ins and outs of how to best protect our skin, yet skin cancer is on the rise in America. In fact, the Cancer Society estimates that one death takes place each hour due to skin cancer and approximates that there will be more than 73,870 new cases of malignant melanoma this year alone. Keeping these frightening numbers in mind, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re doing all you can to keep your skin safe. Here are some important tips.

Generously Apply Sunscreen

Many of us put on sunscreen, but it’s simply not enough. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. This translates to two tablespoons of sunscreen to the exposed area of the face and body, with a nickel sized dollop to the face alone. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and more frequently if swimming or sweating.

Use the Right Sunscreen

Make sure your sunscreen is a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks out both UVA and UVB rays. This will ensure that your skin is protected from both burning, aging and skin cancer causing rays. Also, sun blocks should have an SPF of at least 30. Ingredients to look for in effective sun blocks include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Use Sun Protective Clothing

For those of us who are particularly sensitive to the sun, are going to be under the sun for prolonged periods of time, or simply don’t trust themselves to apply sunscreen adequately, sun protective clothing is a great option. Although all fabrics protect us from the sun to an extent, light can pass through many fabrics. Look for garments with a UPF label to ensure that they effectively shield against the sun.

Protect Skin Even in Winter

Many people associate winter with the cold but most are unaware that UV rays can be every bit as damaging in the snow as at the beach. In fact, the combination of higher altitudes and UV rays reflected by the snow, put skiers and snowboarders at an increased risk. If you are hitting to slopes, make sure to apply sun block liberally and often and cover up with items like hats, ski masks and wrap around goggles.

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention recommends you examine your skin regularly and look for changes in moles and skin growths since skin cancer is highly curable if found early and can be prevented. Individuals with lighter skin are more susceptible to UV damage, but people of all races and ethnicities can be at risk for skin cancer. Those who have a history of skin cancer in their families and those with freckles and moles, or those who have had severe sunburns early in life are at higher risk.

The next Don’t Fry Day will be May 26, 2017. How will you be celebrating?

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