July 17, 2020

10 Important Sun Protection Tips

Young beautiful woman tanning at the beach with sunscreen cream on her shoulder, UV protection and skincare concept; blog: 10 Important Sun Protection Tips

People spend tons of time outside every summer, but because of the coronavirus, people may be spending even more time under the sun because indoor activities are limited. That means there will be plenty of opportunities for skin damage caused by sun exposure. July is UV Safety Month, so this is the perfect opportunity for us to go over some basic sun protection tips. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes.

1. Choose the Right Sunscreen

Find a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Broad-spectrum means that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

2. Use Sunscreen Liberally

Once you’ve chosen a good sunscreen, make sure you’re applying it liberally. Don’t skimp and cover all of your exposed skin. Make sure you cover your:

  • Face
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Torso
  • Back
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Lips

3. Keep Reapplying

Sunscreen application is not a “one and done” situation. Your sunscreen should have directions for how often you need to reapply it, but you should go a maximum of two hours before putting more on. If you are sweaty or have gotten wet, you’ll need to reapply much sooner because it will come off in the water even if the sunscreen says it’s water-resistant. 

4. Keep it Covered

If you’re not swimming, cover up with lightweight clothing whenever possible. Even if you’re wearing sunscreen, covering exposed skin is recommended for extra protection. There are even special shirts and pants with SPF ratings that are lightweight enough to wear during summer activities. And don’t forget to wear a hat to cover your neck and ears. Hats are even more important for people who may not have a lot of hair on their heads.

5. Seek Out Shade

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time at the pool, park, or beach, seek out a shady spot. This way you can get outside and enjoy the warm summer weather while minimizing sun exposure. If the public beaches and pools are open right now, check to see if you’re allowed to bring an umbrella when you visit. That way you have guaranteed shade.

6. Time is of the Essence

Be mindful of how much time you spend outside. Also, be mindful of the time of day because the sun is stronger at certain times.  According to the American Cancer Society, UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Either avoid being out too long during these times or take extra sun protection measures.

7. Don’t Forget Sunglasses

Your eyes need sun protection too. Get a good pair of sunglasses that block UV rays and you could prevent damage to your retinas.

8. Tanning Can Be Dangerous

Some people think a tan will protect them from further skin damage and sunburns. However, the “base tan” theory is just a myth. According to Scientific American, studies have proven that a base tan doesn’t provide sun protection. At best, it provides a sun protection factor (SPF) of 3 or less. Plus, a tan can actually put otherwise pale people at higher risk for skin cancer. 

Indoor tanning can be even more dangerous. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that even one indoor tanning session can increase your risk of melanoma by 20 percent.

9. Avoid the Burn

While you don’t need to get a sunburn for skin damage to occur, sunburns increase your chance of developing melanoma. If you follow the other sun protection tips on this list, you should be able to avoid a painful burn this summer.

10. Check Your Skin Regularly

The American Cancer Society and many doctors recommend doing a skin self-exam once a month. Regular self-exams can help you detect changes or abnormalities in your skin, which may help catch skin cancer early.

Consult a Dermatologist

To get more information on how to protect yourself from the sun, consult a dermatologist. If you are looking for a dermatologist, Blue Ridge Dermatology provides comprehensive medical and cosmetic dermatology, including skin cancer screening. To get more information about spider vein treatments, call us at (919) 781-1050 to make an appointment.

Our number one priority is the health and safety of our patients and our staff. We are following all NC guidelines for social distancing, face coverings, symptom screenings, handwashing, and sanitization. We are also offering telehealth appointments to patients who are unable to come into the office. Read our latest update to learn more about our policies in regard to COVID-19.