Wear Sunscreen!

Haley Pierce , Editor

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States according to cdc.gov, too much sun can cause skin cancer. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) predicts UV radiation levels on a 0 to 11+ scale as higher levels indicate a higher risk of overexposure too UV rays. The EPA also has a tool to check the UV index for your area to help protect yourself from too much sun.

You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree or other shelter before you need relief from the sun. Using sun screen to protect your skin and wearing protective clothing when your outside are ways to prevent yourself from getting sun burnt.

When possible, long sleeved shirts, long pants, hats and sunglasses can provide protection from the UV rays. Wearing some sort of fabric over your skin offers the best protection. A hat that brims all the way around your head and shades your face, ears, and back of your neck works best when protecting your skin from UV rays.  Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.

When it comes to sunscreen, you want to make sure you put in a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher before you go outside. Don’t forget to put a thick layer of sunscreen on all parts of exposed skin. Most sunscreen products work by absorbing, reflecting or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call your doctor.

As sunscreen wears off, reapplication is important. Put sunscreen on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off. Along with reapplication, checking the sunscreens expiration date isn’t a bad idea as some sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same sun-protective ingredients used in sunscreen. If they do not have SPF 15 or higher, be sure to use other forms of protection as well.

An easy and fun way to remember sun safety is the five S’s of sun safety according to skcin.org.

 

  1. SLIP on a t-shirt
  2. SLOP on SPF 15+ broad spectrum UV sunscreen
  3. SLAP on a broad brimmed hat
  4. SLIDE on quality sunglasses
  5. SHADE from the sun whenever possible

As we all need some sun exposure, too much unprotected exposure to the sun UV rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, skin cancer, etc. Make sure to use these helpful tips to reduce your chance of having serious sun burn.