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5 Tips For Protecting Your Skin While Outdoors

Aug 15

Each summer, the number one researched phrase on Google by parents is “How to protect your skin from the sun.” Parents take skin safety outdoors very seriously, and you should too by protecting your skin and your children’s skin from being damaged by the sun.

How Can The Sun Damage Skin?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers in the United States, and the primary cause of skin cancer is overexposure to UV light. UV light typically comes from either the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds and sunlamps. According to dermatologists, there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Indoor and outdoor tanning can be extremely harmful and should be done in a cautious and mindful manner. Tanned skin will forever contain cells whose genetic structures have been permanently damaged by the sun.

Sun Protection Tips

There are many options for protecting your skin while outdoors and protecting your skin from the sun. Follow these 5 skin protection tips to help protect yourself and your family this summer and throughout the year:

1. Wear Sunscreen

Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 on all areas of skin that will be exposed to the sun before going outside. You should do this even on slightly cloudy or cool days — UV rays can penetrate cloud cover. It is important to remember sunscreen wears off and you need to manage your time in the sun. You will need to reapply sunscreen if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours at a time, and after you swim, or sweat excessively.

Doctors and pediatricians suggest an SPF Sunscreen.
We often hear myths around sunscreen like “SPF 30 is only marginally better than SPF 15. The protection factor of SPF 30 is not double that of SPF 15, nor is SPF 60 twice as effective as SPF 30…” This is a myth. The rationale behind this myth is people think if SPF 30 can filter out 96.7% of UV rays, while SPF 60 can filter out 98.3%, the resulting difference is only 1.6% – thus SPF 60 must only be marginally better than SPF 30. This is looking at the situation in the wrong way! When looking at SPF we are not only concerned with how much UV radiation is blocked, but rather how much UV can successfully be transmitted onto our skin to cause damage. If we look at it like this, we see that:

2. Wear Protective Clothing

When outdoors in the sun, be sure to wear clothing that covers your skin. When possible, wear a T-shirt or beach cover-up, in addition to sunscreen. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and skirts provide protection from UV rays. There are also many brands of clothing that specifically have UV blocking technologies for clothing like swim shirts, which are made to be worn while swimming.

3. Stay in the Shade

You can also reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelters when the sun’s rays are strongest, between 10 AM and 4 PM. It is imperative you don’t rely on the shade alone. You still need to remember to use protective measures, like sunscreen and protective clothing, when you’re outside.

4. Wear Hats

Wearing a hat is a great way to provide shade to your face, neck, and upper body. Be sure to wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.

5. Wear UV Blocking Sunglasses

Wearing sunglasses can protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes. Be sure to wear sunglasses that wrap around your face to provide the most blockage of harmful UV rays. Be sure your sunglasses lenses are UV blocking, not just tinted.

Skin Cancer Risks

Anyone can develop skin cancer. However, a person’s skin pigment relates to how likely they are to sustain injury from UV rays and sun exposure. The lighter your skin, the higher your risk is to damage your skin from UV rays. This does not mean people with darker skin are not at risk to prevent damage from UV rays and skin cancer. While dark-skinned people will not get sunburned as quickly as light-skinned people, a person with dark skin will still burn and are still susceptible to sun-induced damage. Health experts advise everyone, regardless of skin color, to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

If you notice changes in your skin, such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in the appearance of a mole, talk to your doctor or medical provider. HealthCore Clinic provides skin cancer exams for people who are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer and determine skin cancer treatment. This includes individuals with a family or personal history of skin cancer, increased occupational or recreational exposure to sunlight, or clinical evidence of precursor lesions.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.

Scheduling A Skin Cancer Exam

Schedule a skin cancer exam at HealthCore Clinic. This is highly recommended if you have a personal history of skin cancer including members of your immediate family who have skin cancer. It is also highly recommended if you have an occupation or lifestyle that regularly exposes you to sunlight. We may refer you to a dermatologist depending on your needs. As part of early detection, it is recommended that you see a dermatologist yearly to receive a skin cancer screening.

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