Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop the disease in their lifetime.
Everyone should enjoy their summer in the sun, but safety is extremely important. There are small and simple steps everyone can do to ensure their protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays is adequate and keep their skin healthy.
In recognition of August as Summer Sun Safety Month, here's a list of tips to stay protected in the sun.
• Apply (and reapply) sunscreen even when you’re not planning to sunbathe. Putting on sunscreen or an SPF moisturizer should be the first thing done in the morning, especially if you’re planning to spend an extended period of time in the sun. While a high SPF protection is ideal, sunscreen does wear off and should be reapplied every two hours minimum.
• Seek the shade. Shady areas allow you to enjoy the warmth of the summer without direct exposure to the sun. Setting up an umbrella on the beach or sitting under a tree in the park can reduce the risk of skin damage.
• Cover up. Clothing is the most convenient barrier between skin and the sun’s rays. Wear a shirt as much as possible and utilize the benefits of UV-blocking swim shirts.
While hair can provide protection for the scalp, wearing a hat will add an extra layer, while the brim helps shade the face, ears, and neck. Baseball caps will keep the sun off your face, but remember that your ears and neck will still be exposed.
• Avoid tanning beds. The UV rays in tanning beds can be equally as dangerous as the ones from the sun, with tanning bed use being linked to an increased risk of melanoma. Explore safer tanning options, such as sunless tanning lotion.
• Explore alternative sources of vitamin D, which is critical to optimal health. While the skin acquires vitamin D naturally through the sun, vitamins and proper diets will also provide the body with its necessary intake without the hazards of prolonged sun exposure.
For more information visit queensmedical.com.
Dr. Barry Kaplan is founder of Queens Medical Associates.