As the snow melts and the days warm up we begin to spend more time outdoors. Spending time outdoors and in the sun is good for us both physically and mentally. However, many seniors have spent far too much time outdoors without protecting themselves from the sun’s rays. Time outside in the sun is good but too much time can eventually lead to skin cancer. There are ways to protect yourself when outdoors. Skin cancer and damage to your skin is preventable.
- Wear sunscreen. In order to protect your skin, sunscreen needs to be reapplied every few hours when you are outdoors for a lengthy period of time. If you are swimming or sweating a lot, reapply more frequently. Your sunscreen should have an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 and should protect against both UVA and UVB rays. These sunscreens are called broad spectrum sunscreens.
- Stay indoors during peak sun periods. This is usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Cloud cover doesn’t mean the sun’s rays won’t affect you so if you are out at these times, wear sunscreen and protective clothing with long sleeves. Add a hat with a wide brim and don’t forget your sunglasses.
- Avoid tanning. A tan may look nice and give an illusion of good health but it’s actually damage to your DNA. Tanning beds pose the same risk. If you really want the look of a tan, most sunless tanners or self tanners are safe and pose no risk to your health.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Before the summer heats up, learn as much as you can about staying safe in the sun. The warm months are meant to be enjoyed but do it safely. To read more about Skin Cancer Awareness Month and ways to protect yourself from the sun, click here.