Being summer sun smart doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay indoors while everyone else is having fun; it means following important safety tips to protect your skin and overall health, while also enjoying your favorite summer activities. GentleCure has a few must-know sun safety tips that’ll help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer and protect you from the heat of the sun.
What is the Safest Time to Sit in the Sun?
Most skin cancers are caused by too much UV light exposure. Knowing when to avoid the sun can help protect you from skin cancer, such as basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers. In the United States, UV radiation is usually the strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during daylight saving time (from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time). The safest time to sit in the sun (still with the proper protection) is anytime outside of that time window.
Before venturing outside, check the UV Index map. Avoid being in the sun for extended periods of time during peak UV hours. And, when you are in the sun, make sure you’re taking the proper precautions, especially if the UV Index rating is 3 or higher. Keep in mind that UV rays are present year-round, even during winter. UV rays can also reflect off a multitude of different surfaces, such as snow, sand, water, and cement. You need to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, whether it’s a hot, sunny afternoon or a snowy day.
What are the 5 S’s of Summer?
The S’s of sun safety have been pushed in health campaigns across the globe since they first appeared on Australian TV in 1981. Cancer Council launched an ad with a character, Sid the Seagull, wearing sun-protective clothing and reminding viewers to: “Slip, Slop, Slap!” Since then, “Seek” and “Slide” have been added to the slogan, creating the famous 5 S’s of summer. Sure, they make a catchy slogan, but what do they mean in the context of sun protection? Before going out, you’ll want to:
- Slip on clothing that’ll protect you from the sun’s rays, such as a long-sleeved, lightweight shirt.
- Slop on broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Re-apply every two hours.
- Slap on a hat with a wide brim to protect your face and ears.
- Seek shade or shelter during peak sun exposure times (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
- Slide on UV-protective sunglasses to protect your eyes.
What Makes You Safe from the Heat of the Sun?
In addition to following the 5 S’s of sun safety, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from heat-related illnesses. In the U.S. heatstroke is one of the most common, and causes between 240 and 833 deaths every year. Heatstroke occurs when the body temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and is usually caused by overexertion in hot conditions. Stay summer sun smart by following these tips from the CDC:
- Stay in an air-conditioned area as much as you can.
- Drink plenty of liquids, even if you’re not thirsty. Provide plenty of fresh water for pets as well!
- If you’re outdoors, take frequent breaks from the heat, especially during peak hours of UV radiation.
- Eat light meals.
- Wear sunscreen and loose but protective clothing. Re-apply sunscreen every two hours.
- Check your local news, as well as the UV Index, for safety updates.
Get More Skin Cancer Prevention Tips & Advice from GentleCure™
Changing your summer routine can help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Keep these tips in mind and share them with loved ones to help them stay safe as well.