Did you know that your skin can become permanently damaged with just 20 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun? Yale Medicine reports that skin damage occurs due to ultraviolet (UV) light; it happens in the deepest layers of the skin, called the dermis layer. While this damage may present itself as a light sunburn to you right now, it actually causes a change to your skin at the cellular level; such damage could even lead to skin cancer in the future. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent this damage! Just follow these tips on how to protect my skin this summer.
How to Protect My Skin This Summer
Step #1: Wear Skin Protection
Whether the sun is unseen behind the clouds or shining its brightest, we want to wear skin protection anytime we are outside. Proper skin protection includes SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher ChapStick, UVA and UVB protection sunglasses, hats with wide brims that provide shade, and UV protective clothing and swimwear.
We recommend using a combination of these skin protectors to keep your skin the safest. Keep in mind that old sunscreen is ineffective, and UV protective clothing can lose its protection if washed incorrectly.
Step #2: Avoid the Harshest Light
Generally, the harshest sunlight occurs between 10 am and 2 pm, but here in Alaska, that extends to 3 pm during the summer months. We recommend avoiding the sun between these times or taking breaks in the shade, as this is the harshest light of the day. Since our summer days are so long, you can protect your skin further by completing your outdoor activities later in the day.
Step #3: Regularly Apply Sunscreen
Sunscreen should be applied every two hours if you are exposed to direct sunlight and every 90 minutes if you are engaging in water activities or are working up enough of a sweat to sweat it off. Keep in mind that sunscreen claiming to be waterproof isn’t waterproof forever; it is just water-resistant for a short time.
We understand that fun in the sun is amazing! However, constant skin exposure throughout the day, even when wearing skin protection, is still harsh for the skin. If possible, we recommend taking a few breaks during your play, whether sitting under a tree in the shade or going inside for lunch. Even a small break will help your skin!
Step #4: Get Skin Check-Ups
Whether you are active in the sun all year long or merely play hard during a few days in summer, we recommend getting regular skin checks. As we age, our skin is more likely to obtain damage that can transform into dangerous skin cancer. If you have noticed any changes in your skin, you should seek a dermatologist immediately for a checkup. Remember, most skin conditions are treatable, but early diagnosis is critical!
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