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Summer Skin Care

By Katie Frizzell

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and that over 1 million cases are diagnosed every year in the United States? Too much exposure to sunlight and the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can lead to premature aging, and more importantly, skin cancer. For many people, going outside during summer, when the UV rays are the strongest, is inevitable. Whether you work outdoors or are just having some summer fun, protecting your skin should be at the top of your priority list.

 

There are ways to protect yourself from the sun. First, try to avoid going into the sun during the times at which the sun is the strongest and therefore the most harmful. In Arkansas, these times are between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. As we all know, this is not always possible, especially if your job requires you to work outdoors. The next few tips can help you if that is the case.

Sunscreen is our first line of defense when we must be in the sun. Make sure to choose one that has at least an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30. Anything higher will still work, but anything lower is not recommended. It is important to follow the manufacturers guidelines to know how often to reapply the sunscreen. While some are made to last through water and sweat, they still must be reapplied every so often. Don’t forget to protect your lips from the sun with a lip balm with SPF 30 also. The lips are often forgotten when it comes to sun protection. Also, do not forget to protect your scalp with either a hat or sunscreen made for the hair and scalp.

Other ways to protect yourself are with what you wear. Wearing sunglasses that have a UV protection factor are a good way to protect the yes, which are another forgotten part of the body when it comes to skin cancer risks. Not all sunglasses are the same, so make sure the ones you choose are made to protect your eyes from the sun. You can also wear long sleeves and long pants. The thing to remember about these is that the fabric needs to be tightly woven. Loosely woven fabric, like that of cotton T-Shirts, are not going to be protective enough because the sun can go through it. There is a such thing as getting sunburned through clothes, and it is not fun. If you wear loosely woven fabric, make sure to still apply sunscreen. Another thing you can do is wear a hat. The best type of hat is one that has a wide brim and is tightly woven, such as a sun hat or bucket hat. Wearing hats like visors and baseball caps are okay, except the ears, neck, and top of the head are still exposed. Be sure to still use sunscreen with hats.

The last way to add extra protection when going outdoors is to seek shade. Try finding a tree or awning to stand under, or even bring your own umbrella when possible. Not only will this shield you from the sun, but it is also cooler in the shade.

Please remember these summer skin protection tips when you head outdoors this summer. It is important to take care of yourself and stay healthy and safe so you can have a fun summer.

For more information about skin cancer and summer skin care please take a look at this publication: Skin Cancer

Stay savvy,

Katie

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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