It’s summer time. You work in the yard. You play at the beach or lake. Maybe you hike, bike, run or go for a walk. And with the long hours of daylight, there’s still time for a backyard barbecue or picnic.
But there’s something you need to know before you get another splash of sunshine: 1 in 5 people will get skin cancer.
If you’re going to be in the sun for longer than 15 minutes, you need to protect your skin. One in five people will develop skin cancer by age 70.1 But it’s largely preventable if you protect your skin from too much sun. But first…
Here’s What Not to Do: Take Sunscreen Pills
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently cracked down on companies selling these supplements.2
It’s true. Sunscreen lotion or sprays take time to apply. But they’re one of your best defenses from the sun’s harmful rays. And there isn’t a quick fix. “There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen,” says FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
So what can you do to protect your skin from the sun? Here are 6 tips to help you be sun smart this summer:
1. Use sunscreen. When your skin is exposed to the sun it increases your risk for sunburn, skin cancer, and premature skin aging. But sunscreen can protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
2. Check the SPF rating. Pick up a bottle of sunscreen, and take a look at the label. You’ll see an SPF (= Sun Protection Factor) rating.
It’s a measure of how much ultraviolet light gets to your skin. The higher SPF rating, the more protection the sunscreen provides to a point:
SPF 30 blocks 93 percent of the sun’s harmful rays
SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of the sun’s harmful rays
Sunscreens with an SPF below 30 don’t protect your skin enough.
And sunscreens SPF 50 or above don’t provide much, if any, added protection.
Using sunscreen is an effective way to protect your skin from the sun when you’re outside. Use it properly and be sun smart by:3
3. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure. Make sure you apply a thin layer to any areas of exposed skin, including arms, legs, face, ears, necks, and feet if you’re going barefoot or wearing sandals.
4. Limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
5. Wear clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun. For example, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, sunglasses, and a broad-brimmed hat.
6. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. More often if you’re sweating or in and out of water in a pool, lake, or ocean.
Think you don’t have time? Think about this…Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for certain types of skin cancer. You can prevent it, and it only takes a few minutes.
Planning to spend some time in the sun for work, a vacation, or a day at the park? Take a little time to protect your skin from the sun to keep your skin healthy. Use sunscreen. Cover up. Find some shade. And you’ll reduce your risk for skin damage caused by too much sun.
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