The long, cold winter is finally a mere memory, and we are blessed with abundant sunshine and enticing warm temperatures. It’s only natural that we find ourselves spending as much time as possible outside soaking up the sun’s soothing rays. We can finally shake off the winter blues and breathe in the fresh, warm air. AAAAH!
Sunshine is absolutely vital to our well-being, as it provides an abundant source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is absorbed thru the bare skin when exposed to the sunshine; however, this is a perfect example of where “more is not necessarily better” applies. Because Vitamin D is absorbed quickly, it only takes a few minutes of exposure to achieve your desired goal of absorption. Spend too much time in the sun with unprotected skin and you are placing yourself at risk for some nasty skin cancers.
Skin cancer rates have increased dramatically over the last decade. The American Cancer Society reports that about 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in this country each year. Melanoma, a more dangerous type of skin cancer, will account for more than 73,000 cases of skin cancer in 2015.
How to Be Safe and Have Fun in the Sun
Here are a few tips from the American Cancer Society when it comes to protecting your precious skin, based upon their “Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap” campaign:
- Slip on a shirt: Cover up with protective clothing to guard as much skin as possible when you’re out in the sun. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you can’t see through when held up to a light.
- Slop on sunscreen: Use sunscreen and lip balm with broad spectrum protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (about a palmful) to all areas of unprotected skin. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling dry, or sweating.
- Slap on a hat: 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.
- Wrap on sunglasses: Wear sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB absorption to protect your eyes and the surrounding skin.
Make it a habit to practice common sense when it comes to your time in the sun, and be aware of how long you have been exposed to the sun’s rays.
Remember to reapply sunscreen often, and of course, keep yourself well hydrated. Don’t let a nasty sunburn and the increased risk of skin cancer put a damper on your summer activities.
Be safe and take good care of your skin, and most importantly, remember to have FUN in the SUN!