Are you sure you’re fully protected from sun damage every time you walk out the door? You likely aren’t. As it turns out, one in every three people will suffer a serious sunburn this year, and, more seriously, 63,000 melanoma cases (the most serious type of skin cancer) will be diagnosed.
Obviously, sun exposure and damage are no small concern. Before heading outside, here are three great tips and healthy practices to protect you from the damaging rays of the sun.
1. Always apply sunscreen.
Surprisingly, most of us use sunscreen incorrectly. Luckily, it’s easy to correct our mistakes and get the most out of sunscreen by focusing on three key application tips: the amount, the type, and the frequency.
- For full effectiveness, use at least one ounce of sunscreen. Hard to visualize? One ounce is approximately the size of a golf ball.
- Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. To get the most out of your sunscreen, be sure to apply it 30 minutes before going outdoors. And be sure to reapply after you’ve been in the water, too.
- When shopping for sunscreen, look for brands that offer both UVA and UVB sun protection, and always use lotions that offer SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher.
- Don’t forget lip balm. “The lips have a thin layer of skin and very little melanin, the pigment that helps protect against the sun,” says Medical Health News writer Amanda Barrell. “They are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body because they are always exposed to the sun when a person is out and about.”
2. Wear clothes with UV protection.
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that wearing protective clothing is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against sun damage and skin cancer. Time to get in the habit of sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and even a long-sleeved shirt when heading out for summertime adventures. And don’t be deceived by overcast days; up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds.
3. Avoid the sunniest times of the day.
Experts recommend avoiding sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to further reduce the risks of skin cancer. Those hours are when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest. If you must be outside, seek a shaded area to minimize exposure. And don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.
We’ve waited all year for summer’s warm, revitalizing sunshine. Don’t let sun damage or a serious sunburn put a damper on your plans. By properly using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and gauging the time of day to avoid sun damage risks, the summer forecast will be a 100 percent chance of fun.