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A guide to

Sun Safety

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Approximately 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. And if cancer isn’t scary enough, 90% of skin damage is also caused by the sun. Prevent wrinkles and skin cancer by practicing sun safety!

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN

Whether you’re a kid running around during recess or an adult on a beach vacation, working outside, or just enjoying an afternoon cocktail in the sun, we all enjoy spending time in the sun. However, the sun’s UV rays can severely damage your skin and increase your likelihood of developing skin cancer.

It’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays all the time, regardless of the time of day, what season it is, or what the weather is like outside. Even on cloudy, winter mornings, protecting your skin will help you live until you’re nice and old.

Here are some tips to help protect yourself from the sun.

Shade

Just this once, being shady is a good thing. Find shade under a tree, umbrella, or other shelter when it’s sunny outside.

Clothing

Wear clothing to cover your skin when you’re outside. If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts, or if it’s too hot for all of that, try a t-shirt or beach cover-up. The more skin that’s covered, the more protected you are. There’s even some clothing that has UV protection built in.

Hat

Hats can provide shade to your face, and maybe your ears and back of the neck too depending on the type of hat. If your hat doesn’t cover your ears and neck, make sure to also put sunscreen on those areas. Be cautious of hats with small holes in them, such as straw hats, that can let harmful UV rays through to your skin.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses protect both your eyes and the nearby skin. By wearing sunglasses, you aren’t just hiding your late night out, you’re protecting your eyes from UV rays and reducing your risk of developing cataracts. The skin around your eyes is also vulnerable to the sun’s harmful rays, leading to wrinkles and skin cancer. Look for sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.

Sunscreen

Slather it on and always reapply. Here are our top 6 tips for preventing cancer by using sunscreen.

SPF 15

The higher the SPF, the better. Use SPF 15 or higher for every day activities, and SPF 30 or higher for extended outdoor activities. Don’t forget to apply chapstick with SPF to protect your lips too.

Reapply, reapply, reapply

Reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours.

Expiration date

Check the expiration date on your sunscreen.

Wear everyday

Wear sunscreen every day on your face, ears, neck, arms, hands, and anywhere else that’s exposed to the sun.

Morning routine

Make sunscreen part of your morning routine. If you wear makeup, use sunscreen as the last step in your skincare routine before you apply your makeup.

Everyone

Everyone, regardless of race or gender, needs to wear sunscreen every day.

 

Consistency is key. Pick the sunscreen that you’re most likely to use.

Now that we’ve got you committed to wearing sunscreen everyday, let’s talk about how to pick one. Sunscreen acts as a barrier between your skin and the sun. But, the amount of sunscreen options available can feel overwhelming. We’re here to break it all down.

Physical (Mineral) Sunscreen

Physical sunscreens block and reflect the sun’s UV rays before they can penetrate your skin.

PROS

  • No waiting time, provides immediate protection
  • Ingredients are safer for long-term use
  • Healthier option

CONS

  • Can leave a white film on the skin
  • More expensive
  • Can contribute to breakouts in acne-prone skin

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen absorbs the sun’s UV rays to prevent them from hurting your skin.

PROS

  • Quick and easy to apply
  • Many options on the market
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Can cause skin reactions in some people
  • Takes 20-30 minutes to absorb and provide protection

THE TRUTH ABOUT TANS

All tans are bad

Despite what pop culture says, a tan is not actually an indicator of good health! Any time your skin changes color, it’s a sign of DNA injury to your skin. A tan is your skin’s way of saying “Hey, that hurts!” Every time you tan, you increase your risk of getting skin cancer. Calling it “sun-kissed” doesn’t make it cute.

Getting a “base-tan” is a myth

“I need to get a base tan before vacation so I don’t burn.” We’ve all heard someone say this or maybe you’ve even said it yourself. Unfortunately, it’s a myth and there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Every time your skin color changes, you are hurting it and the damage builds up over time. Tanning cannot protect you from getting sunburnt. To prevent sunburns, hang out in the shade, wear UV protective clothing and sunglasses, and apply sunscreen everyday.

Tanning beds are the new smoking…toxic AF

Worldwide, indoor tanning causes more skin cancers than smoking cigarettes causes lung cancers. Tanning indoors and outdoors is harmful, but research has suggested that the UVA rays used in tanning beds might further increase your risk of melanoma. In fact, if you indoor tan before you turn 30 years you are 6 times more likely to get melanoma. The UVA light used in tanning beds actually penetrates your skin more deeply than sun rays. If you feel like you have to get a tan, consider using self-tanner or getting a spray tan instead.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Skin Cancer Foundation

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