Written for Scars1 by Michelle Alford
After months of being cooped up inside, it’s finally time to don swimsuits and hit the beach, but the sun can be as dangerous as it is inviting. Sunspots, wrinkles, and skin cancer can all be caused by its damaging rays if proper safety measures aren’t taken. To protect your skin and your health, follow these steps.
Quick Tips for Sun Protection
Wear light protective clothing
Use sunscreen, moisturizer, or foundation with SPF 30 or higher for every-day protection
Use sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher for days with prolonged sun exposure
Drink plenty of water
Regularly inspect your skin for new spots
Wear light protective clothing. Nobody wants to overdress in the summer heat, but if you’re going to spend a lot of time in the sun, consider covering the parts of your body most prone to burning, such as your head and shoulders. A hat can protect your scalp and face, whereas an airy blouse or t-shirt can protect your shoulders.
Thoroughly apply sunscreen. Sunscreen is your greatest ally in the fight against sun damage. Cover any exposed skin, making sure not to neglect your feet, hands, lips, or the tips of your ears. You should use a moisturizer, foundation, or sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for everyday use, and a sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher for days when prolonged sun exposure is expected. If you use a spray sunscreen, apply at least two full coats to guarantee full-body protection.
Drink plenty of water. Keeping your skin moisturized helps it to stay healthy and heal itself when damaged. Well moisturized skin is better able to guard itself against sunspots, wrinkles, and other forms of sun damage.
Regularly inspect your skin for new spots. Sunspots are a clear sign of sun damage, but keep an eye out for new freckles as well. Freckles aren’t birthmarks; they’re caused by exposure to the sun. If you’re regularly locating new freckles, it shows that you’re not using enough protection against the sun.
See a doctor immediately if you’re worried about any new marks on your skin. Skin cancer kills thousands of people a year, but it can be successfully treated if caught early. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you’re at all concerned, and consider being screened for skin cancer once every two years even if you’re not concerned.
With proper protection, you can have fun in the sun without worrying about your health.
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Photo: George Ruiz