Health Matters | Sun Safety

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Sun Safety

Did you know that one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States? More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Before you step outside, remember to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Here are six suggestions that can help save your skin:

Use a sunscreen every day. The best sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and offer broad spectrum protection against ultraviolet radiation.

Apply a generous amount of sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before you leave your home and reapply it every two to three hours while outside. Be sure to cover all exposed skin, including forgotten places like the back of your neck, ears, feet, and exposed scalp. Do not rely on sunscreen lotion alone. You can also go the extra mile by wearing long sleeved clothing and long pants to cover your skin.

A hat with a four-inch brim protects more than 95 percent of your head, neck, and face. A hat protects some of the more sensitive areas of the head and will help you see better on sunny days by reducing glare.

Take advantage of shade whenever possible. Stay indoors or in the shade when the sun is most intense, between 10am and 3 pm. Try to schedule outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon to avoid the harshest UV rays.

Everyone looks better with a tan, right? Wrong. There is no such thing as a base tan that provides protection from sun damage, so skip the tanning parlor and layout sessions. Every tan increases the risk that harmful UV rays pose to your skin. Tanning can also speed up your skins aging process and make the appearance of wrinkles more defined. Stay younger looking, and don’t tan.

Sun damage accumulates over time and occurs even when you’re not actively trying to soak up a few rays. Whether you are walking the dog, mowing the lawn, or enjoying the breeze, sun damage adds up over time. Remember that newborns and children are especially sensitive to the sun’s rays, and protecting their skin is crucial. These simple good sun habits can help you enjoy your favorite outdoor activities without risking your health.

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