Keep Your Skin Healthy in the Summer Sun!by Elaine Plummer
I love summertime, especially when that includes fun in the sun with family and friends. Where I live now, this also means pool, lake or beach get-togethers.
This is all great, but I have one big, big request that you PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN.
While the sun is our friend, the National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that reducing unprotected exposure to the sun and artificial light from tanning beds, tanning booths, and sun lamps can lower the risk of skin cancer.
OK, we all know that, so why aren’t we doing something about it? Simple steps like using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, or seeking shade when we step outside can do a great deal to protect us. However, the NIH’s latest trend data shows that only 58% of adults are protecting themselves from the sun, and adults 25 years and older have increased their use of tanning beds. For these people, leathery skin, wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer may be in their future.
I am absolutely concerned with parents who don't protect themselves or their children from the sun. According to a study published in the February 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published by the American Academy of Pediatrics), only 25 percent of children use sunscreen regularly. In the same study, it was also found that at least 25 percent of the participating children experienced sunburns before the age of 11.
Have a baby? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: “babies under six months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. If adequate clothing and shade are not available, sunscreen may be used on small areas of the body, such as the face and the backs of the hands.”
Are you using skin protection? Hopefully so, because using sunscreen lotion, cream or sprays consistently can protect against skin cancer. That truly is good news and it’s easy to do. Here are some additional safe sun practices that the beinggirl.com website offers:
- Avoid the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
- Put on sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you hit the sun.
- Check that the sunscreen you use is waterproof.
- Use enough. It takes about an ounce to cover the average adult.
- Reapply every two hours.
- Wear large sunglasses and a hat with a three-inch brim. Remember a baseball cap will only help if the brim is facing front.
SPF is one of those terms we use frequently, but are you familiar with what it means? According to beinggirl.com, “A product's SPF (skin protection factor) is calculated by measuring the time it takes to produce redness on the skin protected by sunscreen divided by the time required for unprotected skin to arrive at the same color. Experts who just a few years ago believed that SPFs of 15 were adequate, now recommend using the maximum - up to 50 - to filter out a greater percentage of harmful rays.”
While I would love to know your written quiz results, the most important part of the Nurse Elaine’s Fun in the Sun course is the practicum. That is: Are you using SPF regularly to protect yourself and the ones you love?
Here are some additional resources where you can learn more about how to stay sun-safe this summer: