Stay safe in the sun this summer
Being outdoors is one of the best parts of summer, but too much sun can damage your skin. In fact, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can do damage in less than 15 minutes, says dermatologist Daniel Berg, MD, of The Polyclinic in Seattle. Protect your skin with these tips, and you can reduce your chances of developing skin cancer. Here’s how Dr. Berg suggests you enjoy being outdoors and still protect yourself:
The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Plan your activities in the early morning or late afternoon. Always try to avoid getting sunburned to prevent long-lasting damage to your skin.
Light clothing that covers your skin is the best choice to block harmful UV radiation. Clothing protects thanks to fabric construction, especially when it’s tightly woven, such as polyester or nylon. Certain dyes and chemical treatments can also boost a fabric’s UV protective rating.
Remember your UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes. A broad-brimmed hat can help shield eyes, too. That has the added bonus of keeping your scalp safe from the sun, especially if you will be out on the water, which can amplify the sun’s rays.
Rub it in
Sunscreen can’t work unless you apply it correctly and liberally. Whether you choose spray, oil, or lotion, choose water-resistant and broad-spectrum types with at least an SPF 30. Rub it on generously at least 10 to 15 minutes before you go outside. Reapply every two hours if you’re sweating or swimming.
Don’t use artificial sources of UV rays such as tanning beds or sunlamps. The UV rays from these sources are stronger and more dangerous than those from the sun. Using tanning beds or sunlamps increases your risk for skin cancer.
Heal the burn
Try these tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation to treat sunburn:
• Cool it quick, with a short cold shower or compress.
• Use a gentle moisturizing lotion while you heal.
• Take an ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin to soothe the pain.
• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.