Skin cancer is the most common form of all cancers, affecting more than 2 million people a year. The good news is that you can reduce your risk for skin cancer by following simple tips to protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
Equally as good news is that by reducing your risk of developing skin cancer, you can also prevent other sun-related skin issues such as sunburn, premature skin aging, brown spots, and fine lines and wrinkles.
While the sun exposure has some upsides — namely, it helps regulate your sleep and also helps your skin make vitamin D, which is vital to bone function, among other things — too much of it can wreak havoc on your skin. And not only is it never too early to take precautions in the sun, the earlier you start the better.
At Los Gatos Dermatology, we put together these summertime tips for you and your family to help you have fun in the sun safely.
Buy the right sunscreen
Make sure your sunscreen is a broad-based sunscreen, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Whichever broad-spectrum sunscreen you choose should have an SPF, or sun protection factor, of at least 30.
Also, be mindful of how long your sunscreen has been hanging around your house or your beach bag. Sunscreen does not last forever. The ingredients can become inactive over time, so check the expiration date.
Use lots of sunscreen — repeat.
Don’t skimp on your sunscreen. Cover all your exposed skin, and then reapply after two hours. Reapply more frequently if you swim or sweat while playing sports.
Wear sunglasses and a hat
If you don’t want wrinkles and lines forming around your eyes, also called crow’s feet, cover that delicate area with sunglasses that have thick arms, or temples, and top off your protection with a hat.
Cover the rest of your body
Even if it’s hot out, you don’t have to expose your skin to the sun. There are plenty of lightweight materials that enable you to wear long sleeves and pants even in the summer’s heat.
The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm. Try to plan your outdoor activities in the morning or afternoon when the sun is not strong and the temperature is not as high. During the hot, strong times of the sun, stay indoors or under some shade.
For more information on sun protection, skin cancer, and other sun-related skin issues, call us at Los Gatos Dermatology.