Skin Protection Tips For Summer
June 7, 2014

Skin Protection Tips For Summer

Though it is not yet officially summer, summertime fun and activities are upon us, and most of these happen outside, in the sun. And even though a nice suntan looks lovely, it really is not good for us. In fact, Walgreens explains in an article about nine ways to protect our skin that a suntan is the body’s response to the ultraviolet radiation, otherwise called UV rays. These UV rays penetrate the skin and cause direct damage, and a tan is the first sign of that damage.

Suntans also cause people to age quicker by increasing wrinkles and creating sunspots, but worse are the long-term effects, which include skin cancer, the most common form of cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the US. Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen, UV-blocking sunglasses, protective clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat are the primary ways to protect our skin in the summer months. Following are the other nine tips that Walgreens provides.

1) A Shot Glass Full Will Do

No, this is not for another round at poolside. See, it takes at least two ounces of sunscreen to protect our exposed skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Two ounces = one shot glass. So in our summertime kits – be those for the pool or the beach, the lake or the river – put a shot glass in there.

2) Apply and Reapply

On top of using a shot-glass worth of sunscreen, we must also make sure to apply sunscreen appropriately. First, we must apply it at least 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure. Then, we must also reapply sunscreen about every two hours in order to stay properly covered.

3) Gotta Get Everywhere

When applying sunscreen, we must do so all over, so it is best to apply before dressing, especially when we put on our swimsuits. How many times have we put on sunscreen after putting on the suit only to find the next day that his lower back is cooked like a slab of bacon or she has a perfect bow burnt into her back? And do not forget to spread sunscreen into the hairline, ears, lips, back of the neck, tops of the feet, and hands.

4) Slather it on!

As we apply sunscreen, we need slather it on! It is best to buy new sunscreen as opposed to using last year’s bottle (which we should not have any way since we should be using at least a shot-glass full of sunscreen every two hours). If we have a bottle from the previous year, checking the expiration date is a must. They are usually good for at least three years, but newer is better in this case. We should use at least a 30 SPF or higher.

5) Choose Your Timing

The sun is at its most dangerous from 10am to 2pm, so try to stay indoors during that time. If one must be outdoors during these peak hours, then find protection in the environment by looking for shady spots.

6) Under Make-up, Too

That’s right; a great way to have added protection is to wear moisturizer with sunscreen in it or just sunscreen itself under face powder, bronzer, or foundation…even if these already have SPF in them. Instead of traditional lipstick, in the summer months use a lip gloss or balm with at least SPF 15 in it.

7) The Coolness of the Cover-up

As the Walgreen’s article states, “Look for loose-fitting outfits that you can pair with matching layering pieces. On the beach, pair sun-protective clothing and swimwear with accessories such as a lightweight, brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. If you’re outside during peak sun hours, stay cool under a colorful beach umbrella and wear clothing in layers.”

8) More Reasons for Antioxidants

There are studies that claim adding a topical antioxidant in addition to the sunscreen could provide even more protection from sun damage. It must be used in addition to sunscreen not as a replacement for it, though. Sunscreen is key.

9) Check Yourself

Monthly, we should do a head-to-toe skin self-exam. We need to know our skin up and down so that we can recognize any new or changing freckles, moles, or lesions, which are all indicative of skin damage and may mean something more like skin cancer. If we notice any changes at all, we need to contact our doctors for more information.

Skin cancer is pretty easily cured, but it is still scary and dangerous. Plus, it is one cancer that is pretty preventable if we are responsible with protecting our skin. These tips will hopefully remind us all to slather up, find some shade, wear proper clothing, get new sunglasses that protect our eyes, and rock the hat!

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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