After five long months of winter, it seems almost criminal to advocate for limited exposure to the sunshine, but hear me out! As with most things, moderation is key to staying happy and healthy. Long periods of unprotected sun exposure will have serious, long lasting effects on your health (not to mention a painful sunburn!). Research predicts one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime, resulting in 3.3 million cases treated every year!*
The key is to limit your sun exposure by following these four simple steps.
One: Cover up. Your clothes can protect your skin just as effectively as sunscreen depending on the fabric! The darker (and tightly woven) the fabric, the more protected your skin will be. Want to know if your clothes are protecting your skin? A good rule of thumb; if you can see light passing through your clothes, you will be less protected.
Two: Stay in the shade. You don’t have to spend ALL day in the sun. You should try to stay shaded when the sun is most damaging (10:00 am through 4:00 pm). If you are unable to be in the shade during those times, remember even the brim of a hat can provide you some shade!
Three: Chose the right sunscreen. Make sure you are reading the sunscreen labels and choosing the correct Sun Protection Factor (SPF) for your sun exposure. Avoid tanning lotions and oils that offer low or no SPF.
Four: More is more! Many people use sunscreen, but not enough, or don’t reapply as often as recommended. A helpful tip is to apply a “full shot glass” of lotion twice before spending time in the sun. A “full shot glass” is about an ounce, which is the recommended amount for an adult. Applying two coats guarantees you didn’t miss any spots. So, lather up, and enjoy the sun responsibly! You will be happier and healthier!
*Rogers HW, Weinstock MA, Feldman SR, Coldiron BM. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer (keratinocyte carcinomas) in the US population, 2012. JAMA Dermatol 2015; 151(10):1081-1086.