It’s mid-July, which means that the kids are on summer break, the adults are planning or going on their vacations–with the kids and of course—and the sun is shining bright. Arguably, the sun is the best part of summer. It warms the ocean so that you can go swimming. It provides much needed vitamin D that is so lacking in the cold New England winters. However, as wonderful as the sun is, it can be incredibly dangerous if ignored.
The Skin Cancer Foundation says that, “One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.” And, according to that same source, “An estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.”
Between cancer and aging, it’s clear that we as a people need to take time outside seriously. It’s not all fun in the sun! With that in mind, here are five sun safety tips you can keep in mind when spending time outside with your family.
1. Add SPF
Yes, the idea of sunscreen has been promoted a lot, but the idea of ongoing SPF products hasn’t been as popular a topic. Did you know that The Skin Cancer Foundation found, “People who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily?” That sunscreen could be typical sunscreen that you wear to the beach, but more likely it’s contained in a combination of products like SPF moisturizers, makeup foundations and chap sticks. Choosing products with SPF will help your skin stay healthy and appear young longer.
2. Be Mindful of the Time of Day
While it’s incredibly tempting to run off to the beach between the mid-day hours, it’s sometimes smarter to go towards the evening or early morning. According to The Sun Safety Alliance, “the sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.” It’s unrealistic to expect that you won’t ever go outside during those hours, but knowing when the sun is strongest will help you remember to reapply sunscreen and seek out shade more actively.
3. Use Scientific Principals
Nothing feels as good as diving in the water or toasting in the sand on a summer afternoon, but science has proven that sun bounces off of those types of surfaces and can cause intense burns if you aren’t careful. Per The Sun Safety Alliance, “UV rays bounce off sand, snow, concrete, and water.”
4. Reapply Frequently
We know you plan on swimming this summer, but when you do, make sure to reapply sunscreen. Perspiration and water will wear down your protection and so will simply toweling off. There really is no such thing as too much sunscreen, but there is certainly too little too much of the time.
5. Don’t Forget Your Scalp
While most people know to cover their ears, face, neck, lips and the rest from sun, it’s important to remember that your scalp is vulnerable too. If you have thin hair, The Sun Safety Alliance recommends that you make sure to apply a layer to your scalp as well to avoid a painful issue.
According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, “Regular examination of the skin for any new or unusual growths, or changes in the size, shape or color of an existing spot, is key to finding and treating skin cancers early. If you find anything suspicious, you should discuss it with your primary care physician or a dermatologist.” We trust that you will be vigilant when it comes to sun safety, but if you do notice anything unusual, make sure to contact us!