Just ask my sister:  I’m a stickler when it comes to safe sun practices.  Don’t get me wrong:  I know that being tan makes people feel beaufiul, and I myself still get burned every now and then if I’m not careful (case in point:  falling asleep on the beach in Bermuda).  But, with all the research out there these days about skin cancer and how tanning can contribute to that, you’re being foolish NOT to put sunscreen on just because you’re afraid of being pale.

Pretty on the outside, but can wreak havoc on your insides!

About 90% of nonmelanoma cancers and 65% of melanoma cancers stem from the sun.  The sun’s UV rays wreak havoc on your DNA, even through getting a tan.  Those are staggering statistics to me, and scare me much more than not having a tan.

But how do you protect yourself?  Sometimes even when I slather on sunscreen, I still get burned.  WebMD has a helpful video regarding some simple sunscreen tips.  Some additional tips:

1.)  Pick the right SPF. Here’s a no-brainer:  the higher the SPF, the more protection against UVB rays.  However, just as dangerous, if not more dangerous are UVA rays, which do not cause reddening or pain like UVB rays cause.  A sunblock with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide can provide the most effective coverage.  Look for a solution that indicates it is for broad-spectrum coverage, which will protect against both harmful rays.

2.)  Reapply! Don’t be fooled-just because you put suncscreen on in the morning doesn’t mean you’re safe for the rest of the day.  I’ve read differing things about this, but I typically try to put sunscreen on 15-30 minutes before exposure and then again every 1-2 hours in the sun.  I feel paranoid doing it so often, but it’s been those times that I’ve diligently reapplied that I have not gotten burned.

3.)  Plan accordingly. The suns rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Yes, I know, that’s half your beach day.  If you’re planning on being outside for the whole day, try to seek shade when you notice your shadow is shorter than you are.

4.)  Visit your Dermatologist regularly. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.  Examine yourself regularly for any unusual spots. Regardless, make sure you book a yearly appointment with your dermatologist so he/she can check you thoroughly for any skin issues.

You can still have fun in the summer months, just make sure you’re careful!  Enjoy!

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