August Is Summer Sun Safety Month

Summertime weather is excellent for spending time outdoors and getting some sun. But as the ultraviolet light the sun emits is one of the leading causes of skin cancer, it is vital to protect yourself from overexposing yourself. This article will provide some helpful guidance on how best to protect yourself from the potentially damaging effects of the sun’s rays.

Sun Safety

Spending time outside is a great way to be physically active, reduce stress, and get vitamin D. You can work and play outside without raising your skin cancer risk by protecting your skin from the sun.

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays are an invisible kind of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells.

Protection from UV rays is important all year, not just during the summer. UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool days, and they reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. In the continental United States, UV rays tend to be strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

CDC

sunny sky with some clouds
woman applying sunscreen at the beach

Wear Sunscreen

Sunscreen is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from UV rays.

Sunscreen Tips

Put on broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before you go outside. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options.

Sunscreen is not recommended for babies who are 6 months old or younger. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends keeping infants out of the sun during midday and using protective clothing if they have to be in the sun.

SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF), which is a number that rates how well they block UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher.

Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Expiration date. Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than 3 years. Its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Other Ways to Protect Yourself From UV Rays

Sunglasses

Wearing sunglasses protects the skin surrounding your eyes while helping mitigate the risk of developing cataracts.

Enjoy the Shade

When having fun outdoors, it isn’t necessary to spend all your time exposed to the sun. Instead, relaxing in the shade can help cool you off while protecting you from UV overexposure.

Be Proactive

Regular appointments with your dermatologist make it much more likely that any cancerous skin cells will be detected early; early detection is the best way to prevent cancer from further developing and spreading.

 
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