No other season offers the variety of things to do and enjoy quite like summer does - biking, hiking, swimming pools, backyard grilling, theme parks, Little League and big-league action, not to mention ending a hot day with a scoop (or two) of cold ice cream.
For most of us, summer also means lots and lots of time in the sun. After all, being outside enjoying the warm weather is one of the best parts of the season. But all that wonderful sunshine also requires special attention to protecting your skin.
Besides the pain and discomfort of a sunburn, overexposure to the sun can cause irreversible skin damage. This includes leathery skin, dark spots and wrinkles. It also increases your chance of developing skin cancer - the most common cancer worldwide.
So how do you protect your skin and still enjoy your summer? Just follow these sun safety tips.
Avoid the sun between 10 am and 2 pm. Even if you’re just walking the dog or running errands, try to stay out of the sun during these peak hours.
Put on a hat. Wearing a hat with a wide brim keeps the sun off your face, and it shades your eyes, too.
Don’t sunbathe. Deliberately exposing yourself to the sun for an extended period of time is never a good idea, even if you’re wearing sunscreen.
Apply sunscreen. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause damage in as little as 15 minutes, whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside. Stick to an SPF of 30 or higher for the most protection. And don’t forget to check the expiration date!
Wear sunglasses. Protect your eyes and delicate skin around them. Sunglasses with oversized frames are best.
Check your skin often. Preform self-exams every month or so. Use the ABCDE guidelines when examining moles:
- Asymmetry - Do you have moles that are an uneven/asymmetrical shape?
- Border - Are there any irregular borders around your moles?
- Color - Do you have any moles are more than one color?
- Diameter - Do you have a mole that’s bigger than a pencil eraser?
- Evolved - Has your mole gotten bigger or thicker?
Talk to your primary care provider if you’d like to have your skin checked for areas of concern. To find a primary care physician, click here.
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