As summer break approaches, it’s time to start thinking about sun safety. May is National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Learn how to enjoy summer without worrying about the damaging effects of the sun on your skin. Discover the top tips for lowering your family’s risk of developing skin cancer.
Always apply sunscreen
The CDC reports that the sun can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every day, whether it’s rainy, cloudy or sunny. If you have sensitive skin or you’re applying sunscreen on small children, read labels carefully. You may prefer unscented mineral sunscreen for kids. Reapply often if you’re staying outside, sweating or swimming.
Wear protective clothing
According to the CDC, a typical T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15. This means your average shirt isn’t going to offer you adequate protection from the sun, especially during peak times. If you’re going to be spending time outdoors, outfit children in clothing that offers UV protection and SPF greater than 15. Look for long-sleeved bathing suit shirts that cover kids well when swimming.
Wear a hat
You and your kids should wear hats when outdoors. Look into wide-brimmed hats with a safe chin strap for younger kids. Remember, even when wearing a hat, it’s important to apply sunscreen to the face, neck and ears.
Try to stay under the protection of shade whenever possible. Consider bringing a portable tent to beaches and parks. Choose playgrounds with sunshades and tree-filled areas that offer plenty of shady areas for kids to play outdoors. While shade helps reduce your risk of skin cancer, it is not a substitute for wearing sunscreen.
Stay out of the sun
This probably seems obvious, but the best way to avoid sun damage is to stay out of the sun. You don’t need to become a vampire, but you should try to avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are most harmful.
Visit your dermatologist
Make an appointment to visit your dermatologist once a year. It’s important to keep an eye on moles and skin discolorations on your own, but only a professional can gauge potentially cancerous growths. Try not to fret if you need a mole shaved for a biopsy. It’s quick and nearly painless.
To learn more about staying safe in the sun this summer, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® Service 24 hours a day at 1-888-741-5119 to speak to a nurse. For more information on melanoma, visit us online.