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Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

May 31, 2022

Anytime you’re outside and the sun is shining, you should wear sunscreen. Yes, that includes the winter. However, as warm weather approaches and you spend more time outdoors, it’s imperative to take this important precaution to help prevent skin cancer. Skin is the most common cancer worldwide, with more than 2 people dying from skin cancer every hour in the United States. One of the most predominant risks for developing skin cancer is sun exposure, even for individuals with dark skin. Even those with more melanin in their skin, such as African Americans, are at risk. Remember that if you’re hiking here in Colorado, higher elevations mean being closer to the sun, requiring extra diligence about sun safety. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about sunscreen so that you can stay safe this summer.

How Much Sunscreen?

This depends on body size, but in general, you need an ounce of sunscreen to adequately cover your entire body. Many experts will tell you to use a standard shot glass to get a feel for how much this is. Clearly, small children won’t need quite as much, but the goal is to cover all exposed skin before you go outside. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you may find yourself needing to buy more sunscreen every week or two.

Applying Sunscreen

The biggest rule of thumb when applying to sunscreen is to use a thick layer, which offers more protection than a scant coating. Be sure to generously apply the product on all exposed skin, paying careful attention to easily missed areas like the back of your knees and behind your ears. Be sure to rub the sunscreen into your body very well and use caution when applying around the eyes. If you have sensitive skin, consider using a product designed specifically for your face and your skin type.

When to Apply Sunscreen

To give the product time to work, apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside. If you plan to be outdoors for extended periods of time, reapply the product every 90 minutes to 2 hours (read the label for specific instructions regarding use). If you spend time in the water, reapply sunscreen as soon as you towel off, even if it’s labeled as being waterproof.

Other Considerations

When you choose sunscreen, opt for an SPF of at least 15, though higher is generally more protective. Make sure the product has not expired. If you notice a strange consistency or scent, toss the sunscreen and buy something new.

Sunscreen is important for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity or skin color. So, this summer, protect yourself and your loved ones by making it a habit to slather on your SPF before you go outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. You’ll be so glad you did!

Posted in CHM
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