It is that time of year again… SUMMER! Warm sun, barbecues, long days at the pool.
Sunshine is very important for our health and well-being. It’s important for waking us up in the morning, lifting our mood, giving us vitamin D, and much more. However, many of us know that too much sun is unhealthy for our bodies. UV rays from the sun are considered a carcinogen, or a cancer-causing agent. Although it also performs beneficial functions, when the skin is exposed to excess UV rays, it can alter the growth and appearance of the skin, decreasing its elasticity, and causing DNA damage which can eventually cause cancer.
The skin is considered the largest organ in the body, accounting for approximately 16% of your body’s mass. It is also more important than most people give it credit for. It is our number one immune defense. Intact, healthy skin keeps out unwanted organisms from entering. It also plays a part in temperature regulation and helps to prevent dehydration.
It can be so inconvenient to protect your skin in the summer time, especially if you’re not prone to burning. However, even though you’re not burning, that doesn’t mean that you’re not damaging your skin. Therefore, it is very important to continue taking steps to protect your skin as you age so that it can continue to perform its functions optimally and so that you can prevent skin cancer from developing.
Here are some tips for protecting your skin and keeping it healthy:
– Limit your exposure: especially during the hours with the highest UV (usually between 10 am- 2 pm) and wear clothing and hats to protect your skin.
– Wear sunscreen: Refer back to our post about clean products (link) to help you choose a cleaner sunscreen without damaging chemicals. Also make sure you’re applying sunscreen in sensitive areas like the top of your ears, your scalp, and your lips which are often forgotten. And REAPPLY!
– Reflective surfaces such as water, cement, and sand can still reflect back UV rays even while in the shade. Being near these surfaces can also increase the risk of sunburn.
– Certain medications can increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays, so make sure you’re taking extra precautions.
– Wear sunglasses with UV protection: UV rays can cause damage to the eyes as well, so make sure you’re wearing eye protection when you are outside.