Skip to Main Content

Sun Safety 101

As the weather starts to get warmer, we begin to see the sun more often. It is always refreshing to step outside and enjoy some fresh air or go to the beach on a sunny day. What isn’t talked about much is how damaging the sun can be to our skin. Too much sun exposure can cause wrinkles, sun spots, eye damage, and in some scarier cases, skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer making it easier to get without the proper precautions.

In 2018, there were around 1.3 million individuals living with melanoma and around 4.3 million individuals that were being treated for basal cell cancer and squamous cell skin cancer in the U.S. With these numbers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to keep tabs on sunscreen products to make sure they are safe, at the correct SPF value, and being used correctly.

Sun damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Once someone is sunburned, skin damage usually follows. While people can get sunburned from being outside, they can also get sunburned from being inside a tanning bed which also produces UV radiation. When an individual uses a tanning bed, their skin produces extra pigmentation that is not enough to prevent a sunburn.

As much as we all love being outside during the summer, it is vital to follow sun safety guidelines to keep our skin healthy as long as possible. First, limit your time in the sun, especially during peak times of the day which are 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to avoid sun damage. Wear protective gear such as a wide-brimmed hat, lightweight/long sleeve clothing, and eye protection. Always wear some type of sunscreen when outside. Some individuals are more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays and need a higher SPF sunscreen. Even if it is cloudy, make sure to still wear sunscreen when spending time outdoors.

Sunscreen is available in lotion, gel, oils, etc. Make sure to read the label and ensure it’s the right fit for you. Be sure to apply it to all uncovered areas and reapply every 2 hours. If you are swimming or sweating, make sure to apply it more often as sunscreen is not waterproof. Also, it is a good idea to have yearly check-ups with your dermatologist to make sure your skin is healthy.

To Top