Despite what we know about being safe in the sun, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. And the incidence rate of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is increasing every year.
Here are 5 sun safety tips to protect you and your family against the sun’s harmful effects.
1. Keep it to SPF 30: SPF (sun protection factor) ratings are a measure of sunscreen’s ability to block UVB ratings (known for causing the most damage). Did you know that a higher SPF than 30 does little if anything to block any more UVB rays than SPF 30? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) actually warns against using higher than SPF 30 because it can give people false confidence on the effectiveness of the product, leading them to believe that they are better protected and can stay out longer without further application. In the end, this increases their exposure to damaging UV rays. Generously apply natural sunscreen products that protect from UVA and UVB rays with an SPF 30 rating. Reapply often and especially after being in water.
2. Take a vitamin D supplement: Although the recommendation for 5 to 15 minutes of sun per day to get adequate vitamin D seems like a small amount of sun, no level of UV exposure is guaranteed as safe. Luckily, vitamin D supplementation is readily available. You can also be tested for vitamin D deficiency to make sure that you are getting an adequate amount.
3. Talk to your teens: People aged 16 to 24 are the least likely to protect themselves, and parents may not be as vigilant at covering up their kids once they reach a certain age. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
• The majority of Americans under the age of 12 spend at least 30 minutes outside in the sunlight each day in the summer, and only those under the age of 5 are regularly slathered in sunscreen.
• It only takes a single sunburn in childhood or adolescence, to double the chance of developing melanoma. Carry extra hats and sunscreen with you to ensure that kids, teens and young adults are sun covered!
4. Cover your face: The #1 spot where melanoma appears is on the face. Also, ears are one of the most common spots on the body to develop skin cancer, particularly for men. So when applying sunscreen, make sure that you are covering every part of the ear and wear a hat with a large brim to protect your whole head.
5. Pick the right sunscreen: There are basically two types of sunscreens. Chemical and physical. Physical zinc and titanium based mineral sunscreens do a great job at ensuring that UV rays don’t penetrate the skin. There are so many great options on the market. Check out EWG’s sunscreen guide for the best sunscreen for you, and also check out some of Village Green’s great sunscreen products.
Photo from here, with thanks.