During the summer there is a lot of emphasis on protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. While most of us look forward to being outdoors, there is a need to be cautious about the dangers of too much sun exposure. Long term exposure can cause early skin aging, wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, dark patches and pre-cancerous skin changes.
Remember that before heading outside, take time to protect yourself from the sun by following these tips:
- Use the proper sunscreen and apply every two hours. It’s recommended that you use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and is water resistant.
- Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection.
- Wear a hat and remember to cover up when out in the sun.
- Never look directly at the sun.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.
The strength of UV rays depends on a number of factors, such as:
- Time of Day: UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, when UV rays are strongest.
- Season of the Year: UV rays are stronger during spring and summer months.
- Cloud cover: Some clouds can block and lower UV exposure while others can reflect UV rays and increase UV exposure. It’s important to note that UV rays can be dangerous, even on cloudy days.
- Reflection off surfaces: UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, snow, pavement, or even glass.
Spending a lot of time outdoors without protective clothing and sunscreen increase your risk of developing skin cancer known as Melanoma. This is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and it is commonly known to start in your skin but can quickly spread to other parts of the body if not caught early.
If you are routinely outside and frequently in the sun, you should consult your physician or dermatologist about your skin condition and how to prevent skin cancer. For more information about cancer screenings, please visit the American Cancer Society website at http://www.cancer.org.