I love nearly everything about the summer — long, sunny days; hot afternoons at the beach; hiking and swimming with my dog; spending time in the garden. But given my fair skin, there’s a risk that comes along with all of my favorite summer activities – sunburn.
Not surprisingly, I’ve had at least three severe sunburns in my life. I was young and didn’t think sunscreen was cool. I wanted to be tan, even though spending time in the sun just made me pink (well, red really). Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t practice sun safety. Now I know that one severe sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles my chance of developing melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
So between my previous burns and a family history of skin cancer, I now take sun safety seriously. I use sunscreen every time I’m going to spend time outside in the summer. But sun safety isn’t just for the summer. You can get a serious burn from snow glare or on cloudy days. Therefore, I use lotion with added sunscreen every day.
Here are 4 simple tips from the American Cancer Society on sun safety:
- Avoid being outside in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV light is the strongest.
- Use sunscreen – often and generously. Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your ears, nose, tops of your feet, and back of your neck.
- Wear a hat and a beach cover-up. Even with sunscreen, you can still absorb UV light. These added layers of clothing help protect you a little bit more.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light.
While I can’t undo the damage I’ve done to my skin, with the help of a good dermatologist and a liberal amount of sunscreen, I hope to prevent future burns and skin cancer.