May is half way over and that means summer is just around the corner. Whether you’re planning a road trip, that long-awaited “finally-doing-it” vacation, or a nice and relaxing “staycation,” this is a great time to start thinking about protecting your skin and making sure everyone in your family is protected as well. It’s so easy to forget to put on sunscreen when it’s not that hot out and we’re busy outdoors barbequing or getting the backyard ready for the season. But since May is skin cancer awareness month, this is the perfect time to go through some quick and easy prevention guidelines and get some tips about how best to take care of your skin.
Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Skin Cancer Foundation share this list of recommendations for preventive care:
Seek the shade – especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm when the sun is strongest. An easy tip: if your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s UV rays are stronger, if your shadow is longer, the UV rays are less strong.
Do not burn! – A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had five or more sunburns at any point in their life.
Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths – Indoor tanning booth users are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. The more times a person has spent tanning indoors, the higher the risk.
Cover up with clothing – remember that the more skin you cover, the better, as this can be your most effective form of sun protection. Also include a broad-rimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day – For extended time outdoors, use a water resistant broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Apply sunscreen to your entire body (use 1 ounce/2 tbsp) 30 minutes before going outside – Then reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. One 6 oz. bottle of sunscreen should provide two full days of sun protection for prolonged outdoor activity.
Keep newborns out of the sun – Their skin is extremely vulnerable, and remember that sunscreen should only be used on babies over the age of 6 months. In fact, all children are very sensitive to ultraviolet radiation, and one severe childhood sunburn doubles the chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Examine your skin head-to-toe every month – If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately. To find out more about how to perform a self exam, visit www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/ask-the-experts/how-do-i-perform-a-skin-self-exam. In addition, remember to have a skin exam performed by a physician annually!
The effect of the sun on wrinkles is also well documented. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Skin aging refers to two common types of aging: natural or chronologic aging, and photoaging. Natural aging is characterized by fine lines, skin laxity, and uniform color of sun-exposed and sun-protected skin. Photoaging refers to accelerated skin aging due to the effects of sun exposure. With photoaging, deep, coarse wrinkles, skin laxity, redness and variable discoloration of sun-exposed skin is common.” In both types, the collagen is fragmented and reduced, and the cells that produce collagen are not able to produce collagen optimally or as efficiently.
Collagen is one of the protein fibers found within our skin cells that is responsible for keeping skin smooth, firm, and wrinkle free. Think of it as netting that holds skin cells together. Collagen is continually produced in the body but as we get older, that production slows and the collagen net begins to break down. Sun exposure can damage skin cells and accelerate the breakdown of the existing collagen net which in turn leads to wrinkle development and early aging.
So what does all this mean? To you and I it comes down to two simple things: we’re going to age no matter what, and if we go in the sun without protection we’re going to get bigger wrinkles faster.
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So, the bottom line? Place the pads on your wrinkles and wear them overnight to return skin to a more youthful and supple appearance. And if that wasn’t good enough, right now you can take an additional 20% off your order – enter code SUMMERFUN when you checkout.
So now we know how to protect ourselves from sun damage and start recovering from damage we already see – and we haven’t even put a dent in our summer budget. Seems like we are in for a great summer!