It’s the peak of summer and if you’re anything like me, you’re spending most of your time trying to keep cool by hitting the pool or the beach. Summer is the time for having fun – no doubt! – but we can’t forget about safety.
So, set aside your lemonade and let’s talk sun safety, shall we?
Here’s a scary fact for you:
The American Cancer Society claims there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon every year.
What’s even more scary is that not all sunscreens are created equal. It’s hard to know what’s safe and what’s maybe not-as-safe.
Find the Right Sunscreen for You
Which sunscreen is right for you? Here’s a quick checklist:
- Some sunscreens only protect you from burning. Be sure to look for one that offers “broad spectrum protection.”
- Choose a suitable SPF – anything above SPF 50 only encourages you to stay in the sun longer (which means you could outlast your sunscreen & end up damaging your skin or getting burned!) Stick with something between SPF 15 and SPF 50. Be sure to reapply often!
- Be knowledgeable about ingredients: The chemical oxybenzone is a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and has been known to disrupt the hormone system. Zinc oxide, avobenzone and Mexoryl SX are safer options. (See how your sunscreen ranks at the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreen website)
- Those sprays are handy, I know, but cream sunscreens are recommended. Sprays may be harmful if you inhale them (especially for children) and make it difficult to see how much you use and where it’s been applied.
Other sun-safety tips:
- Wear a hat, sunglasses or shirt to help protect from UV rays.
- Make your own shade by using an umbrella. And definitely keep infants in the shade as much as possible.
- Avoid midday sun, if possible. Take walks or go out in the morning or afternoon when the sun isn’t at it’s most dangerous.
- Reapply as necessary! Sunscreen becomes less effective the longer you wear it and it can be washed/rubbed off in the water, by sweat and towels.
Only you can judge what’s right for you and your family. Take some time to do a little research before just randomly grabbing a bottle off the shelf.
Now, pass the lemonade, will ya?