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Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide and Shade:
The Five S’s of Sun Safety

If you’re like many Americans, after more than a year of COVID-19 travel restrictions, you’re making up for lost time by enjoying the great outdoors as much as possible this summer.

But as you enjoy the pool, the beach, the mountains or theme parks, beware that the sun’s ultraviolet rays can wreak havoc on your skin, putting you at risk for dangerous forms of skin cancer.

“Everyone’s happy to be able to travel again and enjoy their favorite vacation spot,” says Richard Price, M.D. of Price Skin Care Clinic. “But when it comes to fun in the sun, we can’t let our guard down. We can still enjoy the outdoors but we need to respect the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and take precautions to protect our skin.”

In light of that, we’d like to share ‘The Five S’s of Sun Safety’ recommended by The Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity:

  • Slip on a t-shirt
  • Slop on SPF-30+ Sunscreen
  • Slap on a broad brimmed hat
  • Slide on quality shades
  • Shade from the sun when possible

  • Here are some tips on how to follow these five mantras and keep your skin safe this summer.

    Slip on a T-Shirt
    When it’s hot out, it’s tempting to wear as few clothes as modesty allows in order to keep cool. However, clothes can be one of the most effective barriers between the sun’s ultraviolet rays and our skin. That’s why it’s important to ‘slip on a t-shirt’ and as many other articles of clothing as you can stand to protect your skin.

    Other tips recommended include:

  • Keep shoulders covered
  • Fabrics with a tighter weave will provide more protection
  • A high UPF rated fabric provides best protection

  • Slop on SPF-30+ Sunscreen
    Generous use of sunscreen is a must if you want to protect your skin from the sun.

    While no sunscreen provides complete protection, your safest bet is to use one that provides a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) or 30 or above. Even better, make sure it’s water-resistant so it doesn’t easily wash off in water. And even if it is water-resistant, you should still re-apply every two hours and even more if perspiring or after swimming.

    And don’t forget your lips. While you can’t use sunscreen on your lips, your can use an SPF 30+ lip balm.

    In addition:

  • Store your sunscreen in an accessible, cool place and remember to check the expiration date.
  • Apply a generous amount to clean, dry, exposed skin
  • And apply 20 minutes before going outdoors and once again after you do go outside.
  • In other words, you almost can’t use too much sunscreen!

    Slap on a Broad Brimmed Hat
    Even if you have a head full of thick, beautiful hair, you should always wear a hat with a wide brim that protects the face, neck and ears from the sun.

    According to the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity, the most effective hats are:

  • Legionnaire style: one with a flap that covers the neck and joins the front peak
  • Bucket style hats: those with a minimum of a 3-inch brim
  • Note: baseball caps do not shade the ears and neck, which often burn easily.
  • In addition, for better protection, you want UPF-rated fabric that is tightly woven.

    Slide on Quality Sunglasses
    Sunglasses not only make it easier to see in the sun, but the right kind can protect your eyes from solar ultraviolet radiation, which can damage your eyes. It’s important to wear high-quality sunglasses with sunsafe lens and design. And just because they might be expensive and have dark lens does not mean they offer the level of protection you need.

    To make sure you have the highest level of protection possible:

  • Look for the European CE mark, which indicates a safe level of protection.
  • Purchase a pair with a high EPF (which rages from 1-10) will provide the most protection.
  • And ensure the sunglasses are close fitting and wrap around enough to stop the sun’s rays from entering the sides and top.

  • Shade from the Sun When Possible
    Whether it’s a roof, a tent, an umbrella or a tree, shade can offer a protective barrier between your skin and the harsh rays of the sun.

    • Whenever you’re outdoors, you should seek shade whenever possible – especially during the hottest hours of the day (11:00 am – 3:00 pm).
    • Toddlers and babies should stay in the shade at all times since their skin is more sensitive.

    Finally, just because you’re in the shade doesn’t mean you’re 100% protected. The sun’s rays can reflect from the water and from the sand on the beach.

    So even when you’re under shade, be sure to:

  • Slip on a t-shirt
  • Slop on your sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • And slide on sunglasses.

  • In addition to practicing the Five S’s of Sun Safety, performing monthly skin self-exams and seeing your skin doctor annually for skin cancer screenings are the keys to keeping your skin healthy and cancer free.

     To make an appointment for your annual skin cancer screening, please call Dr. Price at 601-992-3996.

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