As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, we find ourselves losing the winter blues and spending time outside. But the more time we spend outside, the more important it is to protect our skin.
Approximately 3.5 million skin cancers are detected every year, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. However, most of these cases are preventable, and simple changes can decrease your risk for developing skin cancer. Follow these tips to protect yourself.
- Use sunscreen. Choose an SPF of at least 15 and apply to exposed skin 30 minutes before venturing outside and every two hours after, especially if swimming or sweating, and even on cool and cloudy days!
- Avoid the midday sun. The best practice is to avoid the midday sun –10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest. If you can’t avoid the sun, try to take breaks during the day.
- Stay in the shade. Find relief in a shady area under an umbrella, tree, or a tent.
- Use your head. Over 80 percent of skin cancers occur on the head and neck. Wear a hat with a brim to shade your face, scalp, neck, and ears.
- Cover up. Shield your skin by wearing a long-sleeve shirt and long pants for the best protection. Darker colors may provide more protection than lighter colors. Keep in mind that a typical T-shirt is lower than 15 SPF, so take extra precautions.
- Grab your shades. It is also important to protect your eyes from the sun. They can protect the sensitive skin around the eyes and lower your risk for developing cataracts.
The sun’s rays can cause damage in as little as 15 minutes. Follow the sun safety tips above to protect yourself and your family!