As Fourth of July weekend comes to an end, there is something new to celebrate: National UV Safety Month—and while UV safety doesn’t have the same ring as freedom or fireworks, there are many ways to pamper yourself, remain stylish and protect yourself from UV rays that are worth mentioning.
Let’s begin with the basics. There is no avoiding the Sun, so it is up to us to learn the facts on UV rays and take the proper measures to regulate our exposure to these rays.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies each day from some form of skin cancer. However, despite health warnings, achieving a bronze glow through tanning salons and sunbathing remains popular in the U.S.
Although a summer glow may be desired short term, some impending characteristics of excessive UV exposure include sunburn, increased risk of skin cancer, premature wrinkles, leathery skin and dark spots.
While it may be argued that anything can be bad when used in excess, there are a few ways to pamper and protect your skin this July, and beautiful skin is always in season.
Skin Safety Tips
1. Apply sunscreen every two hours with an SPF of at least 20. Also, keep in mind that sunscreen doesn’t need to be boring: there are several sunscreens that have bronzers in them, and many sunscreens also have pleasant, tropical scents. UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so be extra cautious during these times.
2. Wear a hat. Whether your prefer a floppy straw hat or your favorite baseball cap, hats protect the part of your hair and ears from becoming sunburnt, in addition to giving your face some cool shade and Sun protection.
3. Always have a pair of sunglasses on hand. Just like melanoma is a cancer of the skin, ocular melanoma is a cancer of the eye that is caused in part by UV exposure. Choose a pair of sunglasses that has UVA and UVB protection, and don’t hesitate to wear your sunglasses on a bright, foggy day.
4. Stay hydrated and moisturize your skin. Water and moisture will keep the elasticity of your skin looking youthful and improve your overall health and appearance. Hydration and moisture are simple, yet effective ways of slowing down the aging process.
5. Don’t forget your lips. Apply chap stick with SPF to keep your lips moisturized and protected from UV rays to prevent chapping and burning.
6. Remember that sunscreen is not just for summer. It is possible to get sunburnt on a cloudy day, and keep in mind that UV rays are stronger when reflecting off of surfaces such as water, snow and sand.
7. Know your body, and be aware of any skin changes. This includes what dermatologists call the ABCDE’s. To help you determine whether a mole is a warning sign, keep in mind: A- Asymmetry, B- Border changes, C- Color changes, D- Diameter (Bigger than a pencil eraser), E- Evolving (Any change in size, shape, color, or elevation).