Catching some summer rays can definitely be noted as one of our favorite pastimes during the months of June, July, and August. UV rays which are emitted from the Sun as a form of radiation, are naked to the human eye, making their process of being absorbed by our bodies very hard to track. Feeling that warm summer sun on your skin is unparalleled, but that feeling can amount to some serious bodily damage. For example, UV rays can cause skin cancer, sunburn, damages the eyes, and even age your skin. Skin cancer is the most common cancer, affecting about 3.3 million Americans every year*.
The two most common types of skin cancers are Basal and Squamous Cell, and Melanoma. “Most basal and squamous cell cancers develop on sun-exposed areas of your skin, like the face, ears, neck, lips, and the backs of your hands.” * Sun exposed areas are often in plain sight, so checking your skin for irregularities such as sun spots or the change in size or color of moles is an easy way to lead to an early detection diagnosis. “Melanoma most often affects the skin (including under the nails), but it can also start in other parts of the body, such as in the eyes or mouth.”* So seek medical attention for sores that haven’t healed. Keeping up with a dermatologist is an easy way to help scout out skin pigment changes, and allows for early detection if necessary. Melanoma is almost always treatable when treated early on.
However, there are some easy ways to gain protection against these sneaky rays:
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when outdoors
- Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears, and neck. If you choose a baseball cap, remember to protect your ears and neck with sunscreen
- Applying sunscreen dutifully with a high SPF number….Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (about a palm full) to all unprotected skin. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling dry, or sweating
- Wearing UV protective clothing…Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you can’t see through when held up to a light
- Seek shade, especially in the middle of the day (between 10 am and 4 pm) when the sun’s rays are strongest
- Teach children the shadow rule: If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest
So enjoy the summer,
but take care of your skin!