Whether your summer days are lazy and long or packed with activities, you and your family will enjoy them more if you remember these top 10 sun safety tips.
1. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds is the most common cause of skin cancer. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. There are 72,000 new cases and 9,000 deaths from melanoma each year.
2. Indoor tanning exposes users to two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, which damage skin and can cause cancer. Indoor tanning is dangerous for younger users. People who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of getting melanoma.
3. Protect your skin. Apply a broadspectrum SPF 30 or higher. Reapply after 2 hours in the sun or after swimming, sweating or toweling off. Check expiration date, sunscreen has a shelf life of up to 3 years.
LOOK FOR Cream, Broad-spectrum protection, SPF to suit your needs and ingredients like: Zinc oxide, Avobenzone, Mexoryl SX
AVOID Sprays, powders, SPF above 50 and ingredients like: Oxybenzone, Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), added insect repellent
4. Wear protective clothing and a wide-brim hat. Pick a hat that shades your face, ears and back of your neck.
5. Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays. Choose ones that have both UVA and UVB rays. They reduce the risk of cataracts, but also protect the skin around your eyes from the sun.
6. Stay hydrated. Dehydration is more likely during hot weather.
7. Seek shade, especially during the midday hours. An umbrella, tree or other shelter can reduce exposure to the sun thus decreasing your risk of skin cancer and heat stroke.
8. When feasible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts that can provide protection from UV rays. A wet T-shirt has less UV protection than a dry one, darker colors offer more protection than lighter colors. A regular T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so look for clothing that has information on its UV protection factor.
9. Know the early signs and symptoms of skin cancer. ABCDE rule can be a guide. Lookout for and tell your doctor about spots that have Asymmetry, irregular Border, Color that is not uniform, Diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser or an area that is Evolving.
10. Other warning signs of skin cancer include: a sore that doesn’t heal; spread of pigment from the border of a spot; redness or new swelling around a mole; itchiness, oozing, bleeding or pain of a mole.