Summer is almost here, which means outdoor activities will increase. That means you'll have more opportunities to expose your skin to harmful UV rays. Unfortunately, sun exposure can cause wrinkles, premature aging, and skin cancer. That doesn't mean you have to eliminate outdoor activities altogether. In fact, it's possible to protect your skin and still enjoy the outdoors this summer. Here are four simple steps you can take to drastically reduce your chances of developing skin cancer.
The sun's rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That means the sun can do the most damage to your skin during those hours. If you're going to be outside during those hours, you should be sure to cover up your skin. Wear a hat to protect your head, face and ears. You should also wear clothing made of tightly woven fabrics. The tight weave will help absorb the sun's UV rays and protect your skin better than loosely woven fabrics.
Go Heavy on the Sun Screen
Whenever you go outside, you need to go heavy on the sunscreen. According to the Center for Disease Control, you should wear sunscreen that has a sun protection factor – SPF – of at least 15. Be sure to apply a thick layer of sunscreen to all exposed areas of your body. For best results, you should reapply the sunscreen whenever you leave the water, or after strenuous exercise.
Don't Forget the Danger Zones
When applying sunscreen, most people remember their face, arms and legs. However, that can leave sensitive areas of the body still exposed to dangerous UV rays. While you're applying sunscreen, don't forget the danger zones – those areas of the body that you might forget about. The danger zones include the following areas of the body.
- "V" area of the chest
- Back of the hands
- Top of the feet
Look in Your Medicine Cabinet
Certain medications can increase your sensitivity to sun exposure. Before you head out for a day in the sun, be sure you know your risk factor. Look in your medicine cabinet. If you're taking certain antibiotics – such as tetracycline – or diuretics, you should talk to your doctor about additional safety precautions you should be taking. Some medications can cause drug-induced photosensitivity.
If you're going to be spending time outside this summer, be sure you know how to protect your skin. It's also important that you talk to your doctor about your risk of developing skin cancer. For more information, contact Strnot Dermatology or a similar organization.