Posted July 19, 2021 by Julie Mark, MD
Did you know skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and men 65 or older are twice as likely to develop melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — than women.
As we head into the summer months, most of us know the importance of wearing sunscreen in the hot, blazing sun. But what you may not realize is the importance of wearing it all year round as a preventive health measure.
Sunscreen protects you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Even on overcast days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can pass through clouds, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. What’s more, snow can reflect the sun’s rays and increase your risk of exposure.
So, when you head outside — whether it’s for a day at the pool, hitting the slopes or just walking the dog — make sure to grab a bottle of sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher. Also, check that it’s a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside. If you are wearing a swimsuit, the spots near the edges of your swimsuit are the most common areas to miss when applying sunscreen—consider applying your sunblock before putting on your swimsuit or move your straps while applying to make sure you don’t miss these areas. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after getting out of the water or sweating. It’s also important to make sure you use enough sunscreen – adults should use about a shot glass full of cream or lotion per application. Sunscreens that contain mineral-based ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are recommended because they sit on top of the skin, rather than being absorbed, so they are less likely to cause irritation.
If you’re still not convinced you need to lather up before going outside, Summa Health offers 5 top reasons sunscreen is important for your overall health. While we’ve all heard the dangers of the sun, you may not know all the ways it can impact your health.
The good news is applying sunscreen is more convenient than ever. There are many sunscreen options available today, including sprays and sunscreen that is built into moisturizers and makeup products.
Sunscreen is an important part of sun protection, but sunscreen alone isn’t enough to keep you safe from harmful rays. You also can protect yourself with a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, sun-protective clothing and limiting your sun exposure during the most intense times of day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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