Summer Skin Safety Tips

summer skin safety tips

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually. Awareness and education is the detrimental in preventing and decreasing your risk of developing skin cancer.

Summer means sun, shorts, sandals, bathing suits as well as bronzed skin. But summer also increases your risk for skin cancer. Avoiding the outdoors altogether is both impractical and nearly impossible. However, making yourself aware of the issue and educating yourself is essential when preventing your risk of developing skin cancer.

What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk?

Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. Indoor tanning (using a tanning bed, booth, or sunlamp to get tan) exposes users to UV radiation.

The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Daylight Saving Time are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors in the continental United States. UV rays from sunlight are the greatest during the late spring and early summer.

  • CDC recommends easy options for protection from UV radiation:
  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Avoid indoor tanning.

Common Sunscreen Mistakes

Wearing sunscreen isn’t enough to keep you safe from sun damage. You have to make sure that you’re applying sunblock properly and avoid these common mistakes.

  • Applying sunscreen AFTER going outdoors.

Sunscreen needs to be applied 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE going outside to give it time to be absorbed into the skin.

  • Not applying enough sunscreen.

An adult should use about 1 ounce of sunscreen for complete coverage. Remember that all body parts that will be exposed to the sun need to be protected. Most people forget to apply sunscreen to their face, ears, neck and feet.

  • Not reapplying after swimming or sweating.

Sunscreen that is not labeled “waterproof” or “water resistant” does come off while you’re in the water or sweating. Even waterproof and water-resistant sunscreen provides a limited window of protection.

  • Using sunscreen only when it is sunny.

Sunscreen needs to be used on both sunny and cloudy days. Harmful UV rays can still affect people when it’s cloudy. It’s important to keep in mind that all people are at risk of skin damage caused by the sun’s harmful UV rays, so it is crucial to wear sunscreen regardless of your skin tone or ethnicity.

Questions or comments regarding summer skin safety tips? Please contact Maria Drees or Liz DeJoode, Health Promotion & Wellness Consultants for PDCM Insurance.

Click here for the printable, PDF version.

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