Now that the dog days of summer are officially here, it's time to think about skin safety. That sun-kissed glow can come at a price if you aren't taking precautions to make sure you're sunning safely. Here are a few easy tips to follow before your next round of fun in the sun.
Seek the shade.
This is especially important between 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. when the sun is most intense. An extra rule of thumb is the “shadow rule.” If your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation is stronger; if your shadow is taller than you, UV radiation is less intense.
Apart from the temporary sting, your risk for melanoma doubles if you've had five or more sunburns at any point in your life. Yikes.
Avoid tanning beds.
UV radiation from tanning beds is known to cause cancer. Those who make just four visits to a tanning salon per year can increase their risk for melanoma by 11% and their risk for the two most common forms of skin cancer by 15%.
Get yourself a broad-brimmed hat, UV-blocking sunglasses and a swimsuit cover-up — whatever it takes to help protect your face, body, eyes and scalp.
Use sunscreen every day.
For daily use, make sure it’s SPF 15 or higher. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Apply one ounce of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
Keep newborns out of the sun.
This one is a no-brainer, but children are very sensitive to UV radiation. For kids six months or older, use sunscreen and keep them in the shade or covered with clothing.
Examine your skin.
Do a head-to-toe self-examination every month. Follow this up with a doctor’s visit at least once a year or anytime you notice something strange.