Sun Safety Tips
The high summer sun is the emblem of the season. Whether we’re relaxing at the beach, mowing the lawn, or just running errands around town, our relationship with the sun changes drastically throughout the summer months.
Sunlight aids in the body’s production of Vitamin D--a vital nutrient impacting bone health, blood cell production, and the overall strength of your immune system. But while a bit of sunlight is necessary and beneficial, an overabundance of UV radiation can be seriously damaging.
Proper skincare shouldn’t be an afterthought, especially during the summer season. UAB Medical West reminds us of the dangers and precautions we can take to keep a healthy body, mind, and dermis.
The benefits of a sunscreen routine (especially in the summertime) can’t be overstated. Even on cloudy days, sunscreen can ward off burns, premature aging, and melanoma--a potentially deadly type of skin cancer.
Sunburns are more than just an itchy, painful consequence of overexposure. It can also lead to spotting, discoloration, wrinkles, and certain types of skin cancer. Your chances for heat exhaustion and heat stroke also increase when burned, which may cut your vacation short at best, or lead to hospitalization or even death at worst.
According to the CDC, melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer in the United States. Melanoma is also the most serious form of skin cancer and has been linked to UV radiation and overexposure.
Sunscreen can reduce your risk of melanoma by up to 50%. But not all sunscreen is created equally. An ideal sunscreen protects from both kinds of UV radiation--UVA and UVB--and has an SPF (sun protection factor) in keeping with your sensitivity to sunlight and your duration of exposure.
Whatever you’re doing outside, and no matter the weather, sunscreen and the summertime go hand in hand.
Dress for Success
Sunscreen alone can’t fix everything. When combined with proper attire, however, the strategic use of sunscreen can go a long way.
We often apply sunscreen to the largest portions of the body--our shoulders, chest, stomach, back, arms, and legs. Though we can often forget certain parts of the body that are as much at risk of burning or damage--our cheeks, lips, scalps, necks, and even our feet and toes.
By wearing attire appropriate for the activity, we maximize our chances for safety. Wide-brimmed hats cover the back of the neck, the ears, and nose, while close-toed shoes keep our feet out of the sun. A lip balm, especially one with an SPF, can keep our lips moist and shielded.
On hotter days, we often dress down to keep from overheating. But even limited exposure to sunlight over several days can place us at risk if we’re not careful. It may be wise to wear long pants or long sleeves on some days, even when it’s warm out.
If you plan on vigorous activities in longer attire, you’ll need to hydrate--the next tip on our list.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Like sunscreen, staying properly hydrated is a solid recommendation all summer (and year) long. Hydration is absolutely key to enjoying the summer days to their fullest and can prevent serious heat illnesses such as exhaustion and stroke. Being well hydrated also has another benefit--it’s good for your skin.
We are undoubtedly creatures of water. Our skin is no exception since it’s about 64% water. If you’re dry (dehydrated) your skin is also dry and is, therefore, more prone to wrinkling, cracking, and flaking.
Proper hydration keeps our skin elastic and responsive, but a great portion of the water we drink goes to more vital organs within the body before ever reaching the skin itself. By both drinking water and using a skin moisturizer or moisturizing sunscreen, we give our outer layer the boost it needs to stay healthy and prevent additional damage.
Glowing Sun, Glowing Skin
Skincare is about more than mere appearance. Without taking proactive steps to protect yourself from harmful UV radiation and overexposure, you could be at greater risk of serious illness.
This summer season, why take any chances at all when you could prepare instead? Maintaining a healthy skincare routine could mean having more summers in the sun.
Visit UAB Medical West for treatment and advice
UAB Medical West knows how tempting the summer sun can be! But sunburn, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and skin cancer are all serious medical issues. If you have any questions about proper skincare or heat-related illnesses this summer, call 205-996-WEST. Serving Hoover, Bessemer, McCalla, and Vance, UAB Medical West will be here for you all summer long.