It’s summertime. Activities such as swimming, sun-bathing, kite-flying, wakeboarding, outings and picnics are surely in your to-do list during these hot summer months. Yet, in the middle of these summer fun activities, it’s a must to keep yourself and your family healthy and safe.
Skin cancer is now the most frequently diagnosed cancer in American women between ages 25 and 29, and the second most frequently diagnosed, after breast cancer, among women between 30 and 34 in the
In Asians, skin cancers are said to be less common, although according to the Singapore Cancer Society, skin cancer is the seventh most common cancer in both males and females in
But even then, summer or not, we must ensure that we minimize unprotected exposure to the sun and to artificial light (from tanning beds, tanning booths, and sun lamps), and avoid sunburns to reduce the chances of getting wrinkles, skin cancer and other skin problems.
Did you know that even if you don’t burn, just being in the sun often over time can lead to skin cancer?
The sun is most dangerous between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. But if it cannot be avoided, here are ways to protect you and your family:
Health and Diet
Get enough vitamin D3 and beta-carotene. Supplement your diet with antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium). And cut down on the fat in your diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Drink 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day for proper hydration of the body and to reduce skin dryness. Experts usually recommend drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day. Don’t smoke, as smoking makes your skin older and can cause wrinkles.
Clothing and Accessories
Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and other sun-protective clothing and cap or hat when you are outside. Wear sunglasses that filter out 100% of the ultraviolet light
Do not allow babies and toddlers to spend so much time in the sun. Remind the children to apply sun protection lotion during summer activities. But remember to walk the talk, and lead by example. Children will be more receptive to it if they see that you are doing the same.
If you have sensitive skin, consult a dermatologist on the best types of sunscreen for you.
Generally, use sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. The SPF indicates the amount of protection against sunburn, which is caused mainly by UVB rays. Choose a sunscreen that is water resistant and check the "use by" or expiry date on the bottle, as some ingredients in sunscreen break down over time. Always apply the product to clean, dry skin 15- 30 minutes before you go into the sun so your skin has time to absorb the product, and reapply once you get outside. Make sure that you apply it liberally and reapply it every two hours, or more frequently if washed, rubbed, or sweated off. You don't need to use expensive brands - the cheaper brands are just as effective if they are used properly.
The next question is, what specific sunscreen product or how much SPF (sun protection factor) is right for you?
Because we have a wide variety of sunscreen products available in the market today, you might want to consider the following basic factors in choosing the appropriate product for you, according to ezinearticles.com:
Most sunscreen products are manufactured with ingredients against UVA rays, and / or UVB rays (which are in fact more harmful for sun burning than UVA rays). Consider also the actual ingredients. Are they organic/safe, or do they contain potentially harmful chemicals?
Ezinearticles.com defines the SPF number on the label of the product as “the strength of protection, and the length of time a sun-screening product will allow your skin to be in the sun without burning - relative to the length of time bare skin (or skin without the product applied) would burn or redden.”
In other words, the SPF number tells people how much longer they can last out in the sun with protection for their skin, without being burned. SPF is a standard measurement for measuring the effectiveness of sunscreen. The higher the SPF of your chosen product, the higher the amount of protection it can give you.
3. Skin Type
In choosing a sunscreen product, it’s important to consider your skin type and how it reacts with exposure to the sun.
Skin care articles on Ezinearticles.com recommend the following:
For children ages 6 months+, consider a product with SPF of 15 or higher to protect against both sun tanning and burning. Choose a product that lists protection against both UVA and UVB rays (also known as the "broad-spectrum"), and one that is fragrance- , preservatives- or chemical-free.
Skin Type - Very Fair: This skin type generally burns quickly. Tanning is rare. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 20 to 30.
Skin Type – Fair: This skin type almost always burns easily. Some tanning can occur, although not much. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 12 to 20.
Skin Type – Light: This skin type burns in the moderate range. Tanning is normally gradual, yielding a light brown shade. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 8 to 12.
Skin Type – Medium: This skin type burns in the minimal range. Tanning happens much of the time, yielding a moderate brown shade. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 4 to 8.
Skin Type – Dark: This skin type rarely burns. Tanning occurs big time, yielding a dark brown shade. Choose sunscreen products containing SPF 2 to 4.
Skin Type – Other: This skin type includes people with moles (or history of moles), people with skin cancer in their family histories (including melanoma), and people with very fair skin and hair. According to the site articles, this is a high-risk category for health damage from too much UV exposure. Thus, choose sunscreen products with the highest SPF available, combined with light to moderate sun exposure.
In the past, people thought of sunscreen with SPF as necessary only for beach or poolside activities, and had no clue on the numbers behind it. Now, people are becoming more and more aware of products with SPF and how they should be used everyday for maximum skin protection. No matter what brand you choose, it doesn’t hurt (literally and figuratively) to make sure that the number on the label is the appropriate one for you.