During the summer, people spend more time outside and in the sun, which is great. Physical activity is always beneficial and the sun is vital to our health. But it’s important to practice sun safety because too much time in the sun can be dangerous.
Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. The ACS reports that more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. This makes it the most common of all cancers, accounting for nearly half of all cases in the country.
So how do we protect ourselves from something we’re always exposed to?
Thanks to these five ‘S’ words, sun safety is easy to do and remember.
The Five S Words for Sun Safety
Slip on a shirt. During your time under the sun, always wear clothing that will protect as much skin as possible.
If you’re not a fan of wearing long-sleeved clothing in the sun because of its bulkiness, lack of ventilation or other inconveniences, you’re in luck. Many companies have made clothing that does an excellent job of protecting you from the sun that are also lightweight and comfortable.
Slop on sunscreen. This might sound like you need to use lotion, but sunscreen comes in a variety of forms and they’re all good ways to protect against UV rays.
However, effectiveness can vary between sunscreens, so be sure to read the labels. Pay special attention to the sun protection factor (SPF).
Also, apply the sunscreen properly by following the label directions. As a general rule of thumb, be generous when applying and put it on any location that’s not covered.
Slap on a hat. The head is often the most exposed – and vulnerable – part of the body to the sun, so you need to take extra care to protect it. In addition to applying sunscreen, put on a hat that has a brim all around.
Baseball caps can help if you have no other choice, but keep in mind that they do not cover your neck or ears.
Seek out shade. The obvious way to protect yourself from the sun is to stay out of it. Limit the time you’re exposed to UV light by reducing your outdoor activity between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the time when UV light is the strongest.
If you’re outdoors during that time, seek shade beneath trees. Keep in mind that you’re still exposed to UV rays even when in shade.
As an added note, avoid using tanning beds and sunlamps as alternatives. Both emit harmful UV rays and can contribute to skin cancer.
Slide on sunglasses. The eyes are a region of the body that is difficult to protect, and long hours in the sun without protection can contribute to the development of eye diseases.
Sunglasses that are either large-framed or wraparound are ideal choices because they completely cover the eyes, but normal sunglasses will serve adequately if necessary.
If you go shopping for sunglasses, be on the lookout for labels that indicate the level of UV protection.
Carefully Soak Up the Sun
This year, think twice before you go out and soak up the sun. Sun safety is all about taking precautionary measures. Remember: slip, slop, slap, seek and slide!