Staying safe in the sun
Once upon a time, having skin with a deep bronze glow by the end of the summer was a goal many people wanted to achieve. Nowadays we know better than to subject our delicate skin to the harsh rays of the sun without first protecting it as much as possible, particularly since there’s strong evidence to suggest that excessive sun exposure raises the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer.1
While damaging UV rays are present all year long, just 20% of UV exposure happens during the fall, winter and spring. That means the bulk of the sun damage to our skin is happening during the summer months – even on cloudy or foggy days when the sun appears to be in hiding.2
So what can you do to protect your delicate skin when you’re outside enjoying the all-too-short summer season? Consider the following tips and suggestions from WebMD3 for staying safe in the sun:
- Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply water-resistant sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go out, and reapply every two hours if you swim, sweat or are outdoors for a long time. Make sure to use enough that it takes you a full minute to rub it in, and put it on every bit of exposed skin including your face and feet. Look for the words “broad spectrum protection” to make sure your sunscreen is filtering out both UVB and UVA light.
- Don’t forget your lips! Buy lip-specific products with an SPF of 15 or higher and reapply every two hours based on the length of time you’re in the sun. Women should look for lipstick with SPF in the formula, or apply a lip conditioner with SPF under regular lipstick for extra protection. Stay away from high-shine lip gloss while you’re in the sun; darker shades of lipstick provide more UV protection than sheer, glossy ones.
- Protect your peepers. Your eyes are also prone to sun damage, which can cause cataracts and macular degeneration. Make sure your sunglasses have UV 400 protection, and stick to gray and brown shades, which are less likely to distort colors.
- Keep kids covered. Children are more prone to sun damage, so in addition to using sunscreen, lip protection and sunglasses, there are a few special rules for little ones. Children younger than six months should be kept out of the sun, and when outdoors should wear wide-brimmed hats, protective clothing and sunglasses. Check with your pediatrician before using sunscreen on an infant since the products have not yet been tested on them. However, children over six months should always wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15—higher if they have fair skin or spend a lot of time in the sun.
The best defense against the sun’s damaging rays is to avoid them altogether between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but if you can’t resist the lure of a bright, sunny summer day just make sure you protect yourself and the ones you love.
For more information on summer skin care visit The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
412014I CAN/US (06/15)