Summer is officially in full swing! With these precious warmer temperatures, we want to sink our feet into the sand at the beach, polish up the landscaping, and soak up some vitamin D. After all, there’s nothing better than being outdoors on a beautiful, sunny day.
While taking in some rays may feel great, we recommend reading up on how you can stay safe while enjoying summer. Sun safety may seem like a silly concept, but too much exposure without the right amount of protection can be dangerous. According to the American Cancer Society, about 3.3 million people in the US are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. This statistic alone may be convincing enough, but education on sun safety is still lacking.
So we’re debunking popular myths to help you practice better sun safety!
Myth #1: You can be in the sun all day.
Fact: The FDA recommends limiting your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 11am and 2pm, when the sun’s rays are the most intense. If you’re outdoors during this time frame, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat, as well as broad-spectrum sunscreen. Many sun worshippers have an established practice of tanning during these peak hours to achieve a glowing, sun-kissed look. In reality, tanning is the skin’s reaction to UV radiation: it produces pigmentation to protect against sunburn.
For many, being in the sun is unavoidable or sometimes a job requirement. Taking the time to wear protective clothing and sunscreen is critical for being outdoors all day.
Myth #2: You can’t get sunburned if it’s cloudy.
Fact: The FDA states that even on a cloudy day, up to 90% of the sun’s rays can penetrate your skin. And being around sand and water can increase your exposure to UV rays, as these surfaces reflect the sun. Extra cloud coverage offers an illusion of safety. But don’t be fooled by a cloudy day – rub in that sunscreen anyway!
Myth #3: Skin cancer only affects older adults.
Fact: While the average age of someone diagnosed with skin cancer is 66 years old, it can still affect anyone at any age. And many factors contribute to a skin cancer diagnosis, including gender, family history, and skin tone. A major player is chronic exposure to UV radiation. Regardless of age, it’s important to decrease the amount of time spent in the sun (when possible), wear protective clothing, and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to help prevent skin cancer.
With this knowledge, be sure to participate in sun safety and pass it on to friends and family. Have summer fun while protecting yourself against the sun!
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