Five Tips for Being Sun Smart

With Spring knocking on our door, its hard to not want to run out and welcome the sun with open arms. I know for myself I could spend all day out in it from washing the car to reading to working in the yard. Doesn’t matter I crave the warmth of the rays just like the air we breathe. Unfortunately often times when we head outside it’s before temperatures outside have stabilized and then I’m paying the price of sunburns afterwards. Besides getting just a sunburn; spending too much time in the sun without protection has been proven to cause skin cancer. You can cut your risks of being a skin cancer statistic by following any of these five tips for being sun smart.

The medical profession has determined that at least 90% of all skin cancers are caused by over-exposure to the sun. If you’ve gotten sunburned just twice before you turned eighteen, you have double the risk of developing melanoma later in life. To avoid skin cancer:

1. Use sunscreen. This is probably your easiest and best plan to avoid damage from over-exposure to the sun. Applying SPF 15 or higher sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays to your skin and lips will help protect you. Apply sunscreen thirty minutes before you go out in the sun and reapply it every two hours while you’re in the sun. If you’re wearing sunscreen and bug repellent, be sure to apply the sunscreen first.

2. Cover up. When you’re going outside, after applying sunscreen, planning your wardrobe is another easy option. Even though it could be hot outside, wearing lightweight long-sleeved shirts, long pants, a wide-brimmed hat or a beautiful floppy hat for the women, and sunglasses will limit the amount of skin that will be exposed. Covering up can also shield you from poison ivy, bug bites, as well as cuts and scrapes.

3. Seek shade. If you don’t want to be covered from head-to-toe, plan on avoiding the sunshine as much as possible. The hours of between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. are the worst times for being outdoors in direct sunlight. When those hours arrive, finding a place in the shade or going inside will keep you safe.  For times when you’re at the park, beaches, or even sporting events you can bring your own shade.

4. Guard your eyes. Sunshine can do more than damage your skin; your eyes can also be affected by UV rays. Finding sunglasses or other eyewear that blocks 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays is important. It would also be helpful if they wrapped around to offer more protection to your eyes.

5. Try a fake tan. You may love sun-kissed skin, but you know that spending too much time in the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer. To have the best of both worlds, use a fake tan product such as a self-tanner that changes the color of your skin over a period of time. You can have the bronze glow of a sun tan without having to worry about cancer in the future. Don’t forget to use sunscreen with a fake tan; they don’t protect your skin, just make it look tanned.

Having a tan is great but it’s all about being sun smart while obtaining one. Tanning is risky but the simple steps to enjoy being in the sun aren’t that difficult, so why risk it. Don’t forget to safeguard your children’s skin by using these same five tips for being sun smart. You can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer as well as your children’s.

How do you practice being sun smart for yourself and family?