Summer is finally here, and as much as we welcome the sun, it is important to remember that the older you get, the more sensitive your skin becomes to harmful UV rays. Each time our residents are outside, regardless of the amount of time they will be spending in the sun, we make sure that our nurses protect their skin with sunscreen. Protection with a SPF 15 or higher on a daily basis can dramatically decrease skin aging.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the older you get, the higher your risk becomes for skin cancer, and if you’ve had more than five sunburns in your lifetime, your risk of melanoma doubles.
Here are some tips on how to enjoy the sun without sacrificing your health;
- Apply SPF 15 or higher on a daily basis, especially to your face, whether you are going to the beach or just to work! Learn more about what your sunscreen label is actually saying HERE.
- Consider investing in clothing with SPF! It is a great way to further protect your skin from those harmful UV rays. Check out some SPF clothing HERE.
- Seek shade! UV rays are the most harmful between 10AM and 4PM.
- Wear sunglasses. Good sunglasses with UV-blocking properties are a necessity when it comes to protecting the sensitive skin around your eyes as well as your eyes in general!
- Avoid tanning beds at ALL COSTS. They have been linked with increased risks of melanoma.
Stay aware of what is happening with your skin and keep an eye on any concerning freckles or moles. When giving yourself a skin check, keep in mind the ABCDE rule that the American Cancer Society recommends:
- A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
- B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
- C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
- D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
- E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.
There is plenty of information on the hazards of UV rays and the risks of skin cancer/sun damage, but it is not all doom and gloom, if you are proactive with protection. And remember, you are susceptible to harmful UV rays 12 months of the year, not just in the summer months.