During the horrible days of Michigan winters, we very much look forward to this time of year. July sounds downright decadent with sunshine, sand, vacation, holiday weekends, picnics, parties, and endless loads of fun. Enjoy these days with your friends and family! July is also UV Safety Awareness Month and is an important reminder to enjoy that sunshine safely.
While sunshine is important for your body (Vitamin D!), ultraviolet (UV) radiation can quickly damage your skin, no matter the shade of skin you live in. You may think this is something that you’ll just worry about when you’re older, but your behavior now will determine what that future will look like. In fact:
- 1 in 5 Americans get skin cancer
- Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States
- More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined
- UV light exposure causes most skin cancers
- Just 5 sunburns doubles your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer
- An estimated 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun
- Sun damage is cumulative
While that all can be very depressing information, please don’t ignore the reality of the risk that damaging UV rays are for your body. You only get one body in this lifetime, so let’s take care of it. There are plenty of ways to still enjoy the sunshine, but protect your skin as well. In fact, sun safety is kind of simple:
- Stay in the shade when possible; it’s cooler that way anyways!
- Plan your time outside – stay inside when the sun is at its brightest. Noon is the perfect time to come inside for lunch, a cool down, and maybe a little rest.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF (think 30 or higher) and reapply frequently. Especially if you are getting in/out of the water, are sweating due to sporting activity, or you are just hot.
- Cover up as much as you can – wear a hat (floppy if so desired), sunglasses (protect those eyes too!), and as much clothing as comfortably possible.
If you are longing for that sun-kissed look, self-tanning sprays, foams, oils, and mousses have come a long way. Don’t get the look by tanning – it’s really not worth it!