Protecting Yourself From the Summer Sun

 In Arlington

The school year is winding down and the temperature is rising. Soon you will be spending hours outside at the pool, at the park, or just enjoying dining on a patio. This is the most important time of the year to protect your skin from the sun’s intense rays.  Sunscreen should be worn year-round to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, and it is especially important in the summer to make sure you are protected.  The summer sun can feel great on your skin, but the American Academy of Dermatologists estimates one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. In addition to cancer, extended sun exposure can lead to cataracts, premature aging of the skin, and sunspots.  In order to protect yourself against disease, we have compiled tip and tricks from professionals in the skin business to keep your skin glowing and healthy.

Never Forget Sunscreen

Sunscreen comes in numerous forms -lotions, sticks, sprays, and gels – and is highly recommended as a defense against sun-related diseases and skin cancer. While it is universally agreed upon that wearing sunscreen is an essential preventative measure, which sunscreen is best is still up for debate.  While a higher SPF is encouraged, dermatologists recommend simply finding a sunscreen you like and sticking to it.  A good rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen 15- 30 minutes prior to going outside. It should be applied thick enough that it takes time to rub it all in. If your skin is sensitive to the sun, apply more at that time.  If you are at the pool or on a hike and sweating off most of your sunscreen, make sure to take a break and reapply it every two hours.  You may not feel yourself getting burnt – especially if you are in the pool – but it is important to remember you are still at risk.

When choosing a sunscreen look for one that is waterproof. While sweat and water will eventually wash it away, a water-proof version makes it harder to removed. Also, make sure to choose one with an SPF of at least 15.  Finally, ensure the product you choose provides broad-spectrum protection.  This means it filters both UVA and UVB light.  While sunscreen is one of the best preventative tools against skin cancer, it is important to remember it is possible to still get burned while wearing protection.  


Sun Protecting Clothes

Texas is hot in the summer.  Wearing long pants and long sleeves to protect against the sun all the time is not reasonable. (Once again, why sunscreen is so important!)  However, a large hat, or even a baseball hat, can offer a decent amount of protection for your face and neck. Just be careful when wearing a baseball hat since your ears remain exposed.  Also, darker materials or clothes with tight weaves or knits help to prevent the harmful sun rays from reaching your skin.


Don’t Forget Your Lips

If you have ever had sunburned lips, then you know how painful it is and how important it is to protect them in the sun. The lips are a common place to develop skin cancer due to their constant exposure to the sun.  Look for lip products that contain an SPF of 15 or higher.  Also, if you are planning to be in the sun for an extended amount of time it is best to avoid lipstick since the ingredients can actually attract the harmful rays of the sun.  



UV exposure to the eyes can cause cataracts and muscular degeneration. In addition, prolonged exposure can cause the whites of the eyes to turn red.  To prevent against this, optometrists recommend wearing sunglasses whenever you are outdoors.  The larger the lenses the better say some eye experts since the darkened lenses provide maximum protection to both your eyes and the sensitive skin surrounding them. Also, stick to lenses that are dark and can withstand an active lifestyle or an accident.  An added bonus is sunglasses come at any price point and can be mixed and matched to go with any outfit or activity.  
Don’t let summer sneak up on your skin this year.  Get proactive and load up on sunscreen and hats.  Your dermatologist and your skin will thank you!

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