Here in Wisconsin, it seems like we either have spring or we don’t. This year was the latter. April was chilly, snowy and dreary and now we have a much-anticipated taste of summer. Each year around this time, I’m reminded of how much I miss the sun and being outside without wearing four layers of clothing. Having very fair skin, I’m also reminded of how easily I burn if I’m not careful. Growing up, I was on a futile mission to tan every summer and refused to accept that I either freckled or burned. Now, I’m much more careful and don’t want to endure any more painful sunburns. Whether you’re embracing newfound warmer temps and sunny skies, or live in a sunnier climate year-round, protect your skin with these tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Lather up … with sunscreen. Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher before heading outside. Make it convenient by keeping a bottle in the bathroom and applying right after you shower. If you plan on being outside throughout the day—at a picnic or out for a long walk, for example—you may want to apply SPF 30 or higher and reapply throughout the day. Pay special attention to areas where clothing tends to chafe or rub, such as swimsuit or sports bra straps on your shoulders.
You may have seen articles and blogs touting the potential dangers of sunscreen but, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, no published studies show that sunscreen is toxic to humans.
When it comes to tanning beds, just don’t. Chances are, you’ve heard of the idea of “building a base tan” to avoid burning before a sunny vacation. Unfortunately, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) by 75 percent. Just say “no” to this harmful glow.
Check your skin every month. Scan the top of your head to the bottom of your feet monthly and keep an eye on any moles. If you’re concerned about something, don’t be afraid to check with your doctor.
You can (and should) enjoy the warmer months on the beach, on your patio, poolside or wherever your summer adventures take you. Just remember to play it safe.