This week, we’ve enjoyed kicking off the summer season – and the launch of our new ECU Division of Health Sciences Twitter and LinkedIn pages – by participating in National Sun Safety Week. It’s a topic that hits home for all of the schools and colleges within our division, as sun damage can affect all parts of the body.
Our research-based tweet tips are a good place to start for those of us who need a sun safety refresher course heading into the warmest months of the year. But protecting your skin from harmful rays can be just as much about what not to do. With that in mind, here are four ways some sun worshippers get burned:
1) Skipping sunscreen on overcast or cloudy days. A common misconception is that the risk of sunburn on cloudy days is less, but the sun’s damaging UV light can pass through clouds (in fact, up to 40% of UV radiation reaches earth on a completely cloudy day!). So, don’t let the weather be what determines your SPF use; wear it no matter the forecast.
2) Putting off dermatology check-ups. While skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer, it is also one of the most treatable. The key is to get checked regularly – especially if you fall into any of these high-risk categories.
3) Neglecting to reapply. Many times, we think we’re covered by lathering up with sunscreen once. Not true, says the American Academy of Dermatology: sunscreen should be applied every 2 hours and/or after swimming or sweating heavily, perhaps after a rigorous game of beach volleyball. Keep that sunscreen bottle by your bag, rather than buried at the bottom of it.
4) Assuming the sun can’t find you in certain places, times or by wearing “protective” covering. We often think about getting sunburned in the obvious places and ways: usually, on the beach, in a bathing suit, on a hot summer day. While that’s certainly a high-risk setting for overexposure, UV rays can also hit us in everyday places we don’t think about: in the car, through our clothes, and in mountainous or wooded areas. The lesson: use sunscreen liberally no matter the time, place – or outfit.
Keep sun safety in mind all year round and you’ll ward off skin cancer – and be able to enjoy the warm summer weather that much more.