Tanned skin used to be a sign of someone who lives an active, healthy outdoor lifestyle.
But that was before we knew better.
Doctors have told us that tanning is actually damaging your skin. And the American Cancer Society reports that skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, accounting for nearly half of all the cancers in the United States. And melanoma, the most serious of skin cancers, will account for more than 75,000 cases of skin cancer in 2012.
Oftentimes getting too much sun is associated with spending time beside the water, but the ACS reports that sun exposure adds up day after day.
Here are some simple ways the ACS suggests to protect yourself from the sun:
- Avoid being in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Seek shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun is its strongest. Use the shadow rule — if your shadow is shorter than you than the sun's rays are at their strongest.
- Remember to protect your skin on cloudy or overcast days because ultraviolet (UV) rays travel through some clouds.
- Avoid any other sources of UV light such as tanning beds and sun lamps.
The ACS has four key steps to remember to protect yourself from UV rays and we've got some examples on how to do that.
1. Slip on a shirt. The ACS suggests you cover your skin with as much protective clothing as possible while in the sun. Also, choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you cannot see through when held up to a light. Izod has Golf Classix shirts that not only has fast-drying fabric, but the fabric itself is called "Sun Control Fabric," which has a Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 20, a rating of protection against UV rays that penetrate fabric and reach your skin. Retails for $64 at Izod Outlets.
2. Slop on sunscreen. The ACS recommends using sunscreen and lip balm with SPF of 15 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (about a palmful) and reapply every two hours and after swimming, toweling dry or sweating. Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days. Neutrogena has a new sunblock lotion called Wet Skin Kids Beach & Pool with a SPF of 45-plus. This new lotion can be applied to both wet or dry skin is hypoallergenic and waterproof. Retails for $9.99 at most discount or pharmacy stores.
3. Slap on a hat. Wide brims of hats offer great protection for your head, face, ears and neck from the sun's rays. Sloggers Garden Outfitters offers a Women's Braided Hat called "Faby," with a UPF of 50-plus. Retails for $24.99 at www.sloggers.com; this hat was purchased at Snavely's Garden Corner in Hagerstown.
4. Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and sensitive skin around them. The ACS suggests wearing sunglasses with 99 to 100-percent UV absorption to provide optimal protection for the eyes and the surrounding skin. Who says sunglasses have to be boring? Xhilaration has a line of sunglasses with fun patterns and designs. Retails for $12.99 at Target.
And although it doesn't necessarily prevent skin damage, we also suggest drinking plenty of water, after all, it's good for the skin, too, and can help prevent dehydration while out in the sun. A 64-ounce "hydration bottle" by Cool Gear has a non-toxic gel-filled freezer stick that can be frozen and then slipped back into the bottle to keep drink cools. It's BPA-free and is dishwasher safe. This green version is called Cove and can be purchased online at www.coolgearinc.com or at Target. Retails for $10.99.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer
Keep protected from the sun this summer with some of these items. Front row from left, a Sloggers "Faby" hat offers shade from the sun with UPF protection, snazzy sunglasses from Xhilaration help to protect your eyes and Izod's Golf Classix shirt has "Sun Control Fabric" to help protect your skin from harmful sun rays. Back row, Cool Gear's hydration bottle keeps you hydrated in the sun and Neutrogena's new Wet Skin Kids Beach & Pool sunblock lotion can be applied to wet or dry skin.