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How to Protect Your Skin in the Sun

Marketing Intern | Shield HealthCare
06/26/15  11:54 PM PST
Skin in the Sun

It’s that time of year again when the days are longer and filled with more fun. That’s right, it’s summer! Warmer days and more time to spend outside provide opportunities for outdoor experiences such as swimming, going to the beach, and playing golf. Along with these fun activities comes increased exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays, however. Often cited as the primary cause of skin cancer, UV rays also contribute to the formation of wrinkles, spots, and cataracts.

It is important not only to enjoy the summer sun, but also to shield your skin from the negative effects of intense sunlight. Luckily, there are several methods to help protect your skin without removing the fun aspects of summer.

  1. Apply sunscreen generously. If you know that you’ll be going to the beach or hanging out outside for a prolonged time, be sure to apply a substantial amount of sunscreen. It is important to reapply every few hours to make sure your skin remains protected. An SPF of 15 or higher is appropriate unless you’ll be near reflective surfaces such as concrete, sand, or water. If you’re not sure which sunscreen to choose, this list of sunscreens by brand may be helpful.
  2. Try to avoid being near reflective surfaces. Surfaces such as clear water, cloud cover, or white sand can heavily reflect the sun’s rays, effectively doubling your exposure to UV rays. Again, if you know that you’ll be around these surfaces, plan accordingly with a higher SPF to increase your protection. This type of exposure is especially deceiving when it’s cloudy outside because, though the sun is not visible, it can still damage your skin.
  3. Cover your skin. Wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, hats, or long pants can greatly decrease your vulnerability to the sun’s rays. Sunlight is generally strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm, so be sure to plan your outfits based on when you’ll be outside during the day.
  4. Check for marks. Especially during these hot summer months, be sure to check your skin for marks or moles that weren’t previously present. Use the American Academy of Dermatology’s guide for detecting skin cancer to check your body.

You may think “I’m too young to get skin cancer, there isn’t any reason for me to reapply sunscreen,” and you would be partially right. Skin cancer often appears after age 50, but UV damage from the sun begins as early as childhood. It is important to take the necessary precautions especially during the summer to ensure your skin stays young for years to come.

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