Are You Practicing Proper Summer Skin Safety?

“Don’t forget to use sunscreen!” At one point or another, we all heard this command from our parents. Everyone knows that too much unprotected time in the sun leads to sunburn which can then lead to cancer and other health risks. And while yes, sunscreen is the most common antidote, it should actually be a supplement to your sun safety routine and not the only solution. Be sure to cover all the bases when you’re planning for a day in the sun! In recognition of July as UV Safety Month, read on to learn proper practices for summer skin safety.

Are you dressing properly? Ample time in the sun requires ample layers of clothing. Stock your beach bag with a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and a pair of pants or long skirt. Even if you’re planning to don your swim suit for the majority of the day, it’s important to have layers on hand so you can take a break from the sun and create your own shade! You also want to make sure that your sunglass frames are UV blocking so as to avoid sun damage to your eyes.

Are you monitoring your sun exposure? It is recommended to stay out of the sun when UV rays are at their peak between 10:00am and 4:00pm. If outside during this time, apply sunscreen at least twenty minutes before venturing outdoors and reapply every two hours. Be mindful of reflective surfaces like sand, snow, water, and windows that are surprisingly sneaky sun outlets.

Are you getting vitamin D in safe ways? There are other ways to get vitamin D without spending hours in the sun! Get your daily dose in alternate ways: eat a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, or take vitamin D supplements. Balance your vitamin intake with 10 – 15 minutes of sunlight and foods like fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, and orange juice.

Are you checking your skin for signs of sun damage? Regularly check yourself for new skin abrasions or moles. Follow the ABCDE‘s to identify any signs of budding melanoma: asymmetry, border changes, color changes, diameter, and evolution. Additionally, schedule yearly check ups with the dermatologist to stay on track.

Are you using quality sunscreen? There is more to sunscreen than meets the eye — using the wrong sunscreen can be as ineffective as using none at all! Quality sunscreen contains at least 15 SPF and covers the broad spectrum, meaning that it protects against ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays. The Environmental Working Group conducts a yearly review of the best and worst sunscreens. Be sure to check out their 2016 guide before you buy your next bottle!  

Are you sun safety smart? Take this Sun Safety IQ quiz to see how your summer skin safety habits measure up!