With another famous summer in Colombia in full swing, taking care of your skin is more important than ever.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest at this time of year and excessive exposure to these harmful rays can damage the skin, leading to sunburn, premature aging, or skin cancer.
âWe all look forward to some fun in the sun, but not protecting your skin when you’re outside can be painful and dangerous,â said Kimberly Frick, family nurse practitioner at Prisma Health Family Medicine â Parkridge in Colombia. . âOur skin is our largest organ and it protects us from a number of harmful elements. Keeping it properly hydrated and protected is essential for leading a healthy lifestyle.
The best way to protect yourself from the sun is to stay indoors, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the UV rays are strongest, but knowing that this option won’t appeal to most people, the experts at Prisma Health offers the following tips for skin protection.
Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, neck, and ears. If you are going to be in direct sunlight for a long time, consider covering your arms and legs with loose clothing despite the heat. And don’t forget your sunglasses: choose a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Always use sunscreen. The American Cancer Society recommends broad spectrum products with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas of your body at least 20 minutes before going out. This includes your ears, neck, feet, and the top of your head if you don’t have hair to protect you. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you swim or dry frequently. Doctors at Prisma Health point out that despite advertising claims, there is no such thing as “waterproof” sunscreen.
Seek shade whenever possible. While trees and canopies don’t provide complete protection from the sun, they do reduce your exposure. An umbrella can also provide protection while allowing you to take advantage of the hot temperatures.
Remember to protect your child’s skin as well. When choosing sunscreen for your little ones, look for products that contain a physical blocker like zinc oxide. This includes babies, who have smaller amounts of melanin than older children and adults and can burn faster. If your child has light or thin hair, be sure to apply sunscreen to that area as well and incorporate hats into their daily routine.
Be aware of the risks of tanning. Sunless tanning creams are much safer than tanning beds.
Short-term overexposure to the sun could lead to sunburn while prolonged overexposure could lead to premature aging, blinding eye disease or skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and usually forms in areas of the body that are most exposed to UV rays.
âUnlike many forms of cancer, skin cancer is preventable,â said Dr. Jeremiah Miller, dermatologist at Prisma Health. âOverexposure to UV rays, whether on purpose from tanning or from lack of protection of your skin, is the number one cause of skin cancer and something that is preventable. Cover up when you go out and never skip sunscreen. If at any time you find new marks, sores or moles on your skin, make an appointment with your doctor.