According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (skincancer.org), over 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. How can you best protect your skin when enjoying outdoor activities in the summer sun?
The simplest tip is to avoid outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. But it’s unreasonable to think that Acadianians cancompletely avoid the sun in that time frame — enter sunscreen. This is true even if you suspect you won’t be outside long enough to get a sunburn. The American Cancer Society (cancer.org) recommends using a sunscreen with “broad spectrum” protection, meaning it guards against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn, but UVA rays cause skin cancer and premature aging.
The American Cancer Society also says you should pick a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. SPF 30 filters out about 97% of UVB rays (compared to 93% for SPF 15). No sunscreen, however, will offer complete protection.
If you’re going swimming, remember that “water resistant” does not equal “waterproof.” You should reapply sunscreen every two hours in any outdoor setting, but you should reapply it more often if you have been in the water. Sunscreen can rub off while you are toweling yourself dry.
Lastly, check the expiration date before using sunscreen. Most will last two to three years, but if it’s a bottle that has been sitting in your bathroom for a while, make sure it has not expired. Expired sunscreens will not work as well.