by Caroline Benitez
As spring makes way for summer, many of us are dreaming about days in the sun. Although plans for beach days and picnics in the park might need to be put on hold for a bit longer, you can still find creative ways to soak up the sun in your own backyard. However, as you choose to enjoy the warm weather, there’s one essential ingredient you can’t forget: sunscreen.
Sunscreen, when used correctly, is one of the best lines of defense for blocking the sun’s skin cancer-causing UV (ultraviolet) radiation. The American Cancer Society reports that an estimated 5.4 million cases of squamous and basal skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States, making them the most common form of all cancers. As for melanoma, the most severe form of skin cancer, a projected 100,350 new cases will be diagnosed in 2020.
While these statistics can be alarming, it doesn’t mean that you need to avoid the sun altogether! Below are some sun safety tips to keep in mind whenever you plan on spending time outdoors.
Choose the right sunscreen.
SPF sunscreen stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number refers to how many minutes of protection from UVB radiation the sunscreen provides- for example, 30 minutes of sun exposure while wearing SPF 30 sunscreen would equal the amount of exposure you would receive in one minute with no protection. The higher the number, the higher the protection. A broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher is recommended.
While sunscreen should be your first line of defense, it’s a good idea to also protect your skin with things such as loose clothing, sunglasses, or a wide-brimmed hat.
Limit sun exposure.
Sunscreen and protective clothing are not a free pass to spend all day in the sun. Limit exposure to direct sunlight between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm, when UV rays are at their strongest.
Perform a self-screening exam.
Check your skin regularly for any changes. If you notice any new, changing, or expanding moles or growths, you should consult with a dermatologist to assess your risk.
LVIM provides free, high-quality, out-patient medical, dental, and mental health care to the working uninsured of Polk County in a compassionate manner. Through 19 years of excellent leadership, LVIM has grown into a thriving and crucial organization for the Polk County community serving the health care needs of over 4,300 eligible patients each year and providing over $9 million in services in 2019 alone. At LVIM the treatment is free, the care is priceless!
To learn more about LVIM visit https://www.lvim.net/.