Don’t look now, but you may not be protected from sun damage. More than one out of every three of us will suffer from a serious sunburn this year, and 63,000 cases of melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer) will be diagnosed.
Clearly, sun damage is no small concern. Before you go outdoors, here are three simple tips and healthy practices that can protect us from the sun’s damaging rays.
1. Use sunscreen.
Did you know almost half (40 percent) of us use sunscreen incorrectly? Fortunately, it’s easy to get the most out of your sunscreen by remembering three things: the amount, the type, and the frequency of applications.
- To be effective, use at least one ounce of sunscreen. To better visualize what one ounce of sunscreen lotion looks like, think of an amount equal to the size of a golf ball.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours. And to get the most out of your sunscreen, be sure to apply it 30 minutes before you plan on going outdoors.
- Look for sunscreen with both UVA and UVB sun protection, and always use lotions or oils that offer 30 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,” writes 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 UV protective clothing.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, wearing protective clothing remains one of the most effective forms of protection against sun damage and skin cancer. Get into the habit of grabbing a hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirt for prolonged sun exposure. Even overcast days carry a risk of sun damage; up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds.
3. Avoid high-risk times of the day.
When possible, and to reduce the risks of sun cancer, experts recommend avoiding sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest. If you must be outside, try to find a shaded area to minimize your sun exposure. And don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.
We’ve waited all year for some summertime sunshine. Don’t let sun damage or a serious sunburn put a downer on your upcoming summer plans. With proper use of sunscreen, wearing of protective clothing, and gauging the times of day to avoid sun damage risks, the summer forecast will be a 100 percent chance of fun.