by Asma Khan, MD, HRHCare Urgent Care, Nyack
As summer begins, it’s time to head to the beach, gear up for sports, and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. With all the time spent outside during the summer months, it’s more important than ever to learn how to keep your skin safe.
Sun Safety Tips
Overexposure to the sun can result in health complications later in life, including skin cancer. And as the earth’s ozone layer continues to decrease, our exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays increases. Remember these sun safety tips as you and your family spend time outside this summer:
- Take extra precaution between 10a and 4p, when the sun is at its strongest
- Apply sunscreen liberally and evenly over all exposed areas of your body
- Look for sunscreens that provide an SPF of at least 15
- For children, look for an SPF of 30 or higher
- Reapply after swimming or heavy perspiration
- Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV protection
- Keep children under six months out of the sun completely
- Remember that UV rays bounce off concrete, sand, and water
- Do not use sun tanning beds
- When possible, stay in the shade
What About Vitamin D?
There has been a recent surge in interest in Vitamin D–both in its health benefits and how to safely obtain it. Vitamin D is necessary for a healthy diet, as it helps maintain strong bones and teeth, and helps to prevent certain cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
A common misconception is that the best source of Vitamin D is unprotected exposure to UV rays. There are much safer and equally effective ways of getting your daily requirement without putting yourself at risk for skin cancer. Introduce foods rich in Vitamin D to your diet, including most fish and eggs, and foods fortified with Vitamin D like milk, cereal, bread, and yogurt.
Summer Skin Safety: What You Need to Know
Being conscious of skin safety is important at all ages, and in all kinds of weather. UV rays can be just as strong on cloudy or hazy days as sunny ones. Always take extra precautions with your children, as they receive three times the sun exposure as adults on average.
In some parts of the world, melanoma (skin cancer) is increasing at a faster rate than any other kind of cancer. In the United States, more than 1.2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. One blistering sunburn can double a child’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.
It’s time to enjoy the great outdoors–but remember to put your skin safety first this summer!
Asma Khan, MD, is the Clinical Director at HRHCare Urgent Care, 84 N Highland Ave between High Street and Sickles Ave in Nyack. Along with offices in Haverstraw and Spring Valley, the facility is part of the 28 health center HRHCare network in the Hudson Valley and Long Island providing comprehensive primary care.
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