By Rose Kreller of Medi-Waste Disposal
Summer is approaching, which means more time outdoors and increased sun exposure on skin. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and protects you from heat, sunlight, injury and infection. However, it is important to protect skin.
The need to protect skin has become very clear over the years, supported by multiple studies linking sun exposure with skin cancer. Additionally, overexposure to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun or indoor “sunlamps” can cause other complications including eye problems, weakened immune system, age spots, and wrinkles.
You can reduce your risk of these issues by protecting your skin. The American Cancer Society notes the best way to avoid overexposure of harmful rays is to stay in the shade; but that is not always possible. It also suggests the “Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap” reminder.
- Slip on a shirt
- Slop on some sunscreen
- Slap on a hat
- Wrap on some sunglasses
Wearing clothing is an important and easy way to protect your skin. Long- sleeved shirts and pants are good examples, as are hats and sunglasses.
Sunburns significantly increase one’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. Avoid getting a sunburn. When possible, avoid the sun during peak hours between 10am and 4pm. Take cover in the shade.
Remember to use caution when near reflective surfaces such as water, snow and sand. These can reflect the damaging rays of the sun and increase your chance of sunburn. Higher altitudes also expose you to more UV rays.
Apply sunscreen of an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin. Remember to reapply, especially after swimming or sweating, even if the bottle says water resistant. Reapply at least 3 times per day when outside for extended periods.
Always monitor your skin for changes such as raided red patches, open sores that do not heal, changing moles, etc. If you find something of concern, see your health care provider as soon as possible.
You can all enjoy summer, but just remember to take precautions to protect yourself!