Summer’s here. And while that means beach, barbeques, and outdoor fun, it also means sunglasses, sunscreen and hats that protect you from sun damage.
Who needs sunscreen? Everyone over age 6 months, no matter their race, ethnicity, or skin tone. Whether you are working outdoors, hanging outside, or the kids are going to camp, everyone needs to apply sunscreen. The most common form of cancer in the U.S. is skin cancer. Broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or greater protect you from sunburn, skin damage, and skin cancer. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, use a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. The easiest way to remember is to apply it before getting dressed. Even on cloudy days, apply sunscreen liberally to all your exposed skin and reapply every two hours. An average size adult needs about 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover their body for each application, which is approximately the amount of liquid in a shot glass. If you are outside all day, you should be using at least a 4-ounce bottle of sunscreen per day. If you don’t have much hair, apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a hat. Don’t forget to use it to your lips but avoid getting it into your mouth. The most missed areas are the backs of the knees, tops of the ears, tops of the feet, part of the hair, and back of the neck.
More than just sunscreen is required. Use UV-blocking sunglasses, get in the shade whenever possible, stay hydrated, and wear a hat. Certain medications can make people more susceptible to the effects of the sun, so consult with your doctor regarding your medications and sun exposure.
Enjoy the summer but take precautions to avoid problems later.