3 Fun-in-the-Sun Ideas to Protect Your Skin Year Round
Experts say four out of five cases of skin cancer could be prevented.1
That’s because ultraviolet (UV) damage from the sun can often be avoided. Arizona has plenty of sunshine year round. In fact, our state has an average of 286 sunny days each year.2 So spring, summer, fall and winter, do your best to limit your UV exposure.
Sunny or cloudy, sunscreen is a must. Choose a broad-spectrum product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Wear it during a hike, at the pool (reapply after swimming or perspiring heavily) or on the ski slopes…and also when you commute to work or dash to the store.
Some rays get through, though—even with sunscreen.
These sun-smart steps will help keep your skin healthy and safe:
1. FOCUS ON INDOOR ACTIVITIES WHEN THE SUN’S RAYS ARE STRONGEST3
As a rule, it’s smart to limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially in the summer months. Of course, that’s not always realistic (or fun!). When outdoors, keep in mind that water, sand and snow reflect UV rays, increasing your risk of sunburn and other damage to the skin and eyes.
2. WEAR THE RIGHT PROTECTIVE CLOTHING3,4
Are you wearing a shirt? How about a hat? Sunglasses? Sounds good, but here’s the catch: Protective gear can’t just be anything. As a rule of thumb, if you can see sunlight shining through a hat (such as a loosely spun straw hat), it’s not giving you proper protection. Your clothes should be tightly woven, lightweight and light colored, as well. And make sure your sunglasses are labeled with a UVA/UVB rating of 100 percent.
When the shadow you cast on the ground is shorter than you are, the sun’s UV rays are strongest. Time to go indoors!
3. FIND SHADE!3
Let’s say it’s a great day to go hiking. Of course, you’ll wear sunscreen, and maybe a hat and long-sleeved shirt. But will that be enough? During the hours when the sun’s UV rays are most intense, seek some shade. This is true whether you’re in our Sonoran Desert regions or Arizona’s cooler high country. Keep in mind, though, that even shade trees, umbrellas or canopies don’t offer full sun protection.
On a final note, it’s also wise to skip indoor tanning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains it best:
“Indoor tanning exposes users to both UV-A and UV-B rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer. Using a tanning bed is especially dangerous for younger users; people who start tanning younger than age 35 have a 59 percent higher risk of melanoma.”5
LEARN ABOUT OTHER SUNLESS TANNING OPTIONS FROM THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY.
1 Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
2 Source: National Health Service Corps
3 Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
4 Source: American Cancer Society
5 Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
SPOT Skin Cancer is a trademark of the American Academy of Dermatology, a professional society that is not affiliated with BCBSAZ.
© Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona | An Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual’s particular health plan.