• Staying Safe in the Summer Sun

    Summer is finally here, and while many thoughts have turned to fun in the summer sun, it is essential to take the necessary precautions when venturing outside. Ultraviolet rays (UV) rays are harmful not only on sunny and clear days, but they can also cause significant damage on cloudy and hazy days, as well. Research has established a link between blistering sunburns and an increased risk of melanoma and other types of skin cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are more than 2,000,000 new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year.

    There are many ways you can protect yourself from the sun in order to prevent sunburns and skin damage. Between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest, and exposure is most dangerous, it is beneficial to wear a wide-brim hat and sunglasses that wrap around the face. One should also seek shade during the peak hours of the sun, and not deliberately sunbathe. Furthermore, it’s important to note that clothing does not prevent the sun’s rays from coming through to the skin, as most clothing has an SPF of 10 or under.

    Sunscreen should be worn daily, year-round. Sunscreen should be an SPF 15 or higher and applied over the entire body 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. Always make sure to check the expiration date of the sunscreen being used, as most only have a shelf life of three years. While applying sunscreen, it is suggested to pay close attention to the ears and nose, which are the most common locations for skin cancer to appear. Reapplying sunscreen every two hours offers the best protection from a sunburn.

    Visit Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology to learn more tips on how to stay safe in the summer sun.