I received the following in an e-mail from “Medical Mutual and its Family of Companies”:
Staying Safe in the Summer Sun
Summer is here! It’s exciting to see the warm weather return, leaving the cold, gray days of winter behind.
But, before soaking up the sun, it’s important to protect your skin from dangerous UV rays. These invisible rays from the sun can cause unsightly wrinkles and dark spots, damage your eyes, weaken your immune system or result in melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
Don’t feel like you have to hide inside all summer. There are a few simple steps you can take to keep your skin healthy:
- Avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when midday rays are the strongest. Try the shadow rule to gauge your level of UV exposure: a shadow that’s ‘taller’ than you are indicates low UV exposure, while one that’s ‘shorter’ means you’re getting a heavy dose of UV rays.
- Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to protect your skin from ultraviolet A and B rays. Apply every 2-3 hours. For longer periods or higher UV exposure, use zinc oxide cream, which stops any sunlight from penetrating your skin. For sensitive skin, sunscreens free of alcohol, para-aminobenzoic acid [PABA], preservatives and perfumes are best.
- Avoid indoor tanning beds. People who use them regularly are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma.
Visit skincancer.org for more tips on the best ways to protect your skin from melanoma and other skin cancers.
Go ahead — apply sunscreen, grab your shades, put on a floppy hat and get outside to enjoy the warmth of summer!