Summer’s here, and there’s no better time to soak up some Vitamin D. But between higher temperatures, inclinations toward water activities and more exposed skin, there are dangers you should be aware of when it comes to the health of your skin. Not only does sun exposure put you more at risk for skin cancer, it can also cause uncomfortable burns, eye damage and premature wrinkles.
We’ve compiled some tips for protecting your skin this summer season.
- Seek shade. Try to limit your direct exposure to sun, especially when UV rays are strongest (typically between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.)
- Cover up. You may be tempted to lay out in your swimwear to work on your tan, but this can be dangerous. Instead, wear as much clothing as is comfortable in the heat, including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
- Use sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 should be applied every two hours plus after swimming or sweating.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds and sunlamps cause long-term damage and are major contributors to skin cancer.
Choosing the Best Sunscreen
When purchasing sunscreen, play attention to the label. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires sunscreen labels to follow certain guidelines. Below is what you should look out for:
- Sunscreen with “broad-spectrum protection” helps block both UVA and UVB rays. While all sunscreen products protect against UVB, which causes burns, they don’t always block UVA, which contributes to skin cancer and premature aging. Broad-spectrum products protect against both.
- SPF refers to the level of protection sunscreen provides. The higher the SPF number, the more protection is offered. Note that the higher the number, however, the smaller the difference in protection becomes. For example, SPF 15 sunscreen filters about 93% of UVB rays; SPF 30 filters 97%; SPF 50 filters 98%; and SPF 100 filters 99%. No sunscreen can provide complete protection.
- Water-resistant does not equal waterproof. Sunscreens that are labeled as water-resistant specify on the label how long it lasts in water (usually 40 or 80 minutes). But you should always reapply after getting wet or sweaty.
- Check the expiration date. Most sunscreens are good for two to three years, but sunscreens that have been exposed to heat for long periods may be less effective.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the experts at Pinnacle ENT Associates.