5 Ways to Keep Your Skin Safe This Summer
For many families, warmer weather during summer provides an excellent opportunity to spend time outdoors, soak up the summer sun, and enjoy days spent by the pool.
Not only can getting outside this summer provide relief after months of being cooped up indoors during the winter, but spending time outside can also help you stay active, reduce stress, and get vitamin D.
Unfortunately, too much sun exposure can also increase your risk of skin cancer. Luckily, though, you don’t have to sacrifice spending time outdoors in order to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays.
As you spend more time outdoors this summer, you can reduce your skin cancer risk by taking steps to protect your skin from sun exposure.
Here’s a look at five simple steps that you can take to keep your skin safe this summer.
One of the best ways to protect your skin when spending time outside is by using sunscreen.
While we often remember to apply sunscreen on hot, sunny days, it’s important to remember that the sun's UV rays can still cause skin damage when it’s cold or cloudy. You should then make a habit of applying sunscreen whenever you will be spending time outdoors.
When purchasing sunscreen, make sure the label says "broad-spectrum," as this ensures that it helps protect against both UVA and UVB rays. The label will also indicate a sun protection factor (SPF), which indicates how well it blocks UV rays.
Higher SPF numbers indicate greater protection. It’s recommended that you purchase a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher.
In order to ensure that you’re properly protected, you should apply sunscreen liberally to exposed skin at least 15 minutes before going outdoors. You will need to reapply sunscreen every two hours, and possibly sooner if you are swimming or sweating excessively. Always check the expiration date when using sunscreen, as most sunscreen expires after three years.
Not sure whether your sunscreen is still good or what sunscreen will work best for you?
Consider visiting your local pharmacy for advice on choosing sunscreen and other SPF products that will provide you with the best protection this summer.
Another simple way to protect your skin this summer is to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
This is when the sun's rays are strongest and most intense — and your skin is at the greatest risk for sunburn and sun damage during these peak hours.
If you can't avoid going outside during these hours, try to stay in the shade by using an umbrella or some kind of shelter to protect your skin. Remember, even if you’re in the shade, you should still use sunscreen when spending prolonged periods outdoors.
When it’s hot out, it might seem like you should wear less clothing, not more.
However, one of the most effective ways to protect your skin from the sun's damaging UV rays is to cover as much of it as possible.
Try wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts in order to accomplish this. Clothes made from tightly woven fabrics in darker colors offer the best protection against the sun.
You may even want to consider purchasing clothing with built-in SPF/UPF for ultimate sun protection if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors this summer.
In addition to covering exposed skin with clothing, you can also protect yourself from UV rays with the right accessories. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays can help to protect the sensitive skin around your eyes while also reducing your risk of cataracts.
For greatest protection, you should also wear a wide brim hat whenever you go outside, as this can help to protect the sensitive skin on your face, ears, and the back of your neck from sun damage.
Drinking water isn’t only important to your overall health, but it’s essential in ensuring your skin stays healthy.
However, in the summer, intense sun rays and heat dry out your skin more than normal, making it more important than ever to stay hydrated.
During the summer, you should get in the habit of drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start drinking water, as this is likely a sign that you’re already starting to become dehydrated.
Staying hydrated throughout the day will help to keep your skin healthy while reducing your risk of heat exhaustion.
If you currently take any prescription or over-the-counter medications, it’s important that you know that some medications can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun, which can lead to severe sunburns and an increased risk for skin cancer.
A few examples of medications that may increase sun sensitivity include NSAIDs like ibuprofen, certain antibiotics, antihistamines, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
It’s important that you check the labels on your medications for any sun-sensitivity warnings, or that you talk to your pharmacist if you are unsure whether you may be at an increased risk for skin damage because of the medications you take.
If your medications are known to increase photosensitivity, you will need to be extra vigilant about protecting your skin whenever you go outdoors.
While it’s important that you protect your skin from the sun year-round, you need to be particularly careful during the summer when the sun's UV rays are particularly intense.
Precautions such as wearing sunscreen and staying in the shade can go a long way in protecting your skin from damage and reducing your risk of skin cancer.
Feel free to check out our RxLocal Pharmacy Finder if you are looking for new skincare products to protect your skin from sun damage. We can help you find a local, knowledgeable pharmacist who can help you find the best products to meet your needs.