Everyone is excited that summer is around the corner, and with the longer days, people are ready to enjoy the outdoors and the sunshine.
However, it’s also important to remember too much exposure to the hot summer sun can be harmful to your skin. The more time you spend in the sun this summer, the more you need to be mindful of the damage it can do.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer, in the US and worldwide but it’s also one of the most preventable. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 1 in 5 Americans develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma, and 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun. The good news is that when detected and treated early, the five-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%!
It’s no secret the sun can harm your skin with ultraviolet (UV) rays and prolonged exposure. While UV rays are present all year long, they’re stronger in the summertime. Because UV exposure can lead to premature aging and an increased risk for skin cancer, it’s important to take precautions to protect your skin throughout the summer. To keep your skin healthy, vibrant and youthful, here are some dermatologist-recommended tips for summer skin care.
Use sunscreen regularly. Apply sunscreen generously to all exposed skin, including your face, neck, chest, hands and any area not covered by clothing. Reapply every two hours, or more often if you’re swimming or sweating. Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Keep in mind, no sunscreen can completely block out all UV rays, so you should always combine sunscreen use with other protective measures.
Wear protective clothing. Lightweight and long-sleeved shirts, pants and long skirts made of tight-woven fabric in dark or bright colors provide the most protection. For more effective protection, select sun-protective coated clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label.
Put on a hat and a pair of sunglasses. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat helps protect your face, scalp, ears and neck from sun damage. To shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, look for UV-blocking sunglasses that are large-framed and wraparound.
Enjoy the shade. Seek shade and avoid being outdoors in direct sunlight for too long. This is especially important between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, when the sun’s rays are the most intense.
Our skin will change throughout the year and should be cared for with consideration of the season. Since your skin needs a little extra attention and care during the summer months, take the time to use a summer-friendly skin care routine to ensure you and your skin have a happy and healthy summer. Enjoy every minute of daylight this summer, knowing your skin is protected!
About the Author Ahmed Badawi, MD, PhD, specializes in dermatology identifying and treating conditions of the skin, hair and nails including acne, eczema, nail fungus, psoriasis, rosacea and skin cancer, among many others. He earned his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kansas, and performed his residency at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.