January is the traditional time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions…
Every year more than three million Americans suffer from non-melanoma skin cancer with more than 90% of these cases a result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Much of this exposure happens over the summer while we’re enjoying outdoor activities such as water sports, yard work and barbeques.
If the skin gets too many of those ultraviolet rays, it burns, hence the term ‘sunburn’. And burned skin is not just painful but causes dangerous lifetime consequences.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sunburns cause DNA damage to the skin, accelerate skin aging and increase lifetime skin cancer risk. Five or more sunburns in a person’s youth increases lifetime melanoma risk by 80 percent.
Clearly, sunburns are serious.
At Price Skincare Clinic, we want you to enjoy outdoor activities during the sun-rich summer months. But we want you to take precautions to prevent sunburn and the accompanying skin damage.
“Keeping your skin healthy is all about developing proper protection and detection habits,” says Dr. Richard Price, of Price Skincare Clinic in Ridgeland, Mississippi. “You have to protect your skin from overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays as well as practice the habit of regularly inspecting your skin for abnormalities and seeing your doctor about any changes you might find.”
Here are our tips for a sunburn-free summer:
Tip # 1: Avoid the sun’s peak hours
The sun’s ultraviolet rays are at its worst between the hours of 10AM and 4PM. If possible, seek the shade during these hours – or at the very least, minimize your exposure to the sun.
Tip #2: Wear proper clothes and headgear
When you do have to venture outdoors, the simplest way to protect your skin from the sun is to wear proper clothing. Appropriate attire absorbs or blocks much of the radiation, so wear long pants, long sleeve shirts, a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Synthetic and semi-synthetic fibers (such as polyester and rayon) offer the greatest protection.
Tip #3: Wear sunscreen
For the parts of your skin exposed to the sun, we recommend using a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply the sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside and then reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
Tip #4: Avoid sun tanning, UV tanning booths and ‘sunburn art’.
Trying to achieve that perfect tan through natural or artificial means is not worth the risk of exposing your skin to extra ultraviolet rays. And joining in the latest social media fad of creating sunburn body art by exposing parts of skin to the sun without proper protection, may leave you with more than just a fashionable selfie.
If you want to decrease your risks of damaging your skin and even getting skin cancer, don’t lay out in the sun, don’t use tanning booths and don’t participate in sunburn body art.
Tip #5: Take extra care around water, snow, ice, sand and high altitudes.
Take extra precautions when you are around water, snow, ice and sand as they reflect the sun’s rays. And while you might feel cool high up in the mountains, you can still get burned because the sun’s ultraviolet rays are stronger in high altitudes.
Just because you’re not feeling the heat doesn’t mean there isn’t any. Always abide by the first three tips above when outdoors anywhere.
Keep these five tips from Price Skincare Clinic in mind and you’ll be on your way to a sunburn-free summer!