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Keeping Your Skin Healthy This Summer

Keeping Your Skin Healthy This Summer

The longer and hotter days of summer are here. With plenty of outdoor activities to fill our schedules, the increased risk of UV rays exposure to our skin is important to address. July is recognized as UV Safety Month, a time to bring awareness to protecting our skin from the sun. Here is how to keep your skin healthy this summer by preventing painful sunburns and reducing the risk of skin cancer.

The Importance of Sun Protection

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. One of the greatest causes of skin cancer is sunburn. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 1 out of every 3 Americans experience at least one sunburn each year. Because of how dangerous the sun’s UV rays are, it’s vital to safeguard our skin against them.

Tips for Skin Safety

Check the Weather Forecast

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sun’s UV Rays are strongest from 10 AM to 4 PM local time. Avoid going out during these times if possible. Use mornings and evenings for outdoor yard work, walking your dog, etc. If it is unavoidable to be outside during these times, check the weather to be prepared. Also, check your local UV Index to be ready for the intensity of the sun. If the index is three or higher, you should take extra precautions to protect your skin.

Use Sunscreen

Applying sunscreen is one of the most effective ways to protect your skin. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which guards against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it generously to all exposed skin areas 15 minutes before heading outdoors, and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. Use sunscreen even on cloudy days, as the sun’s UV rays can still be harmful. Don't forget often-missed spots like the ears, the back of the neck, and the tops of the feet.

Wear Protective Clothing

Clothing can provide an excellent barrier against UV rays. Opt for long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats to shield your skin. Lightweight, loose-fitting, and tightly woven fabrics offer better protection while keeping you cool. Some clothing brands even offer UPF-rated garments designed to block UV rays more effectively.

Seek Shade

Stay in the shade during peak sun hours (10 AM-4 PM) whenever possible. Bring an umbrella or tent to create a shaded area if you’re spending the day at the beach or park. Remember, even under an umbrella or in the shade, reflective surfaces like water and sand can still expose you to UV rays, so continue to use sunscreen.

Wear Sunglasses

Your eyes are also susceptible to UV damage. Protect them by wearing sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Look for styles that wrap around your face to prevent sunlight from entering from the sides.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping your skin hydrated is essential, especially during the hot summer months. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain your skin's moisture levels. Bring a reusable water bottle if you are away from home for extended periods of time. Dehydration can make your skin more susceptible to damage and irritation from the sun.

Perform Regular Skin Checks

Regularly examine your skin for any new or unusual moles, bumps, or spots. Early detection of skin changes can be crucial in identifying skin cancer early. Use the "ABCDE" method to evaluate moles: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and Evolution or change over time. If you notice anything suspicious, consult a dermatologist promptly.

Be Cautious with Tanning

It's important to understand that there is no such thing as a "safe tan." Both sunbathing and tanning beds expose your skin to harmful UV radiation, increasing your risk of skin cancer. Instead, consider using self-tanning products if you desire a sun-kissed glow without the damage.

Protect Your Skin at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital

Protecting your skin during the summer is vital for maintaining health and preventing severe conditions like skin cancer. By incorporating these sun safety practices, you can enjoy the sunny season while keeping your skin safe and healthy.

Prevention is the best care. Speak with your primary care doctor at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital for extra prevention help and with any concerns. Our care team can help you find the best treatment and prevention tips for your skin’s health.

Schedule an appointment at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital by calling us at (406) 228-3500 or visiting us online.