August is Summer Sun Safety Month! Did you know that skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States? It is estimated that one in five Americans are likely to develop skin cancer at least once in their lives. Additionally, approximately 9,500 people are diagnosed every day.
However, there are many actions you can take to reduce your risk. The most important thing is protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) light, either directly from the sun or indoor tanning beds.
While many women work towards getting a healthy glow during the summer, their tan is skin damage. It may look healthy and pleasing. It’s hardly a sign of good health. Over time, exposure to the sun will cause tell-tale signs of premature aging like wrinkles and age spots. We’ve all seen someone who looks much older than they are due to sun damage.
Six Tips to Keeping Your Summer Skin Beautiful and Healthy
Without overheating yourself, try to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, wide-brim hats, and sunglasses when outdoors. It can be easy to forget about parts of your body you don’t often consider, like your ears and scalp.
Always Wear Sunglasses
Sunglasses aren’t just a cool-looking accessory. They help shield your eyes from UV rays that can eventually damage your eyes and cause issues like cataracts. Always find a pair that blocks 100 % of UVA and UVB rays.
Minimize Your Exposure to Sun
The sun’s rays are harshest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If at all possible, try to stay inside during this time. The best time to schedule outdoor activities is early in the morning or in the afternoon. If you go outside, try to spend time in the shade or under an umbrella.
Never Forget Sunscreen
It doesn’t take long to be exposed to sun damage. It can take as little as 15 minutes for UV rays to damage your skin. By rubbing sunscreen on any part of exposed skin at least 15 minutes before going outside, you can protect yourself. We like to use HERA Shield because it’s non-comedogenic and provides SPF 22 protection.
Remember that a coat of sunscreen doesn’t last forever. You need to keep applying sunscreen every two hours, especially if you have been sweating or swimming.
Avoid Tanning Yourself
As tempting as a darker complexion may be, there is no such thing as a safe tan. It is a misconception that indoor tanning is a healthier and safer alternative to sitting out by the pool. Tanning beds still expose you to severe UV radiation, increasing your risk of skin damage and skin cancer.
While getting your vitamin D is good for you, it doesn’t need to be from tanning. There are many ways to keep your vitamin D levels at a healthy level. Speak with your doctor to go over your options.
Understand Your Skin
The best way to know if something has changed is by observing your skin. Look for new moles, bumps, spots, or places where your skin has changed tone or color. Moles should be watched for changes in color, size, shape, uneven edges, or texture. If one side of the mole looks asymmetric or different than the other side, contact your doctor immediately.
Also, check for growths and sores that won’t heal, always bleed, or just look abnormal. Always discuss any concerns immediately with your doctor.
Don’t forget to keep kids protected and safe while having fun in the sun. The same tips apply: long protective clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Just as sun damage can start early, so too can healthy sun habits.
If you have questions about your skin and how to protect it, please contact Dr. C. at 805-379-9110 or schedule an appointment at our Thousand Oaks office.