How well do you know sun fact from sun fiction? As we start spending more time outside enjoying the warmer weather, it’s important to have our stats straight when it comes to keeping our skin protected and healthy.
Here are some definite Dos and Don’ts to having fun in the summer sun:
DO: Wear sunscreen no matter what your age.
Some people think that most of their sun exposure happens before they are 18, so once they hit adulthood they don’t need sunscreen. However, that couldn’t be more false. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that you only get about 23 percent of your lifetime sun exposure by 18, so be sure to put sunscreen on no matter your age.
Plenty of women (and men) turn to tanning beds not only in the winter to maintain their summer tans, but also in the beginning of summer to get a “base tan.” We’ve all heard the risks associated with tanning beds, and now the FDA has changed its label of tanning beds to reflect those serious concerns.
In a final decision, the FDA has labeled sunlamp products and ultraviolet (UV) lamps used in tanning salons as moderate-risk devices. This is a change from the previous label of low-risk.
In addition to the label change, the FDA is now requiring all sun and UV lamp products to have a black box consumers can see that states the products are unsuitable for use by people under the age of 18. A black box is the strongest warning from the FDA, though it does not outlaw or restrict the products for minors.
Out of all the things preoccupying your mind as you prepare for Spring Break, I doubt that skin cancer and premature aging receive the priority that they need. It’s easy to ignore the dangers of poor skincare during life’s care free, unadulterated moments but I assure you that the consequences could be dire. Preventing skin disorders and diseases is easier than you think, it just takes a little bit of careful planning.
UV rays cause the most damage during midday. Avoid the sun between the hours of 10:00 and 4:00. If you can’t resist the beach (and really, who can?) then make sure you take appropriate measures to protect your skin.
A large part of maintaining excellent health is staying away from excessive carcinogens. Smoking, drinking and tanning, among many others, can all cause cancer. The World Health Organization recently classified indoor tanning as a class 1 carcinogen, placing it in the same ranks as tobacco. Some professionals argue for the occasional use of sun-therapy for the treatment of depression and dermatologic conditions. Alas, my purpose today does not include debating the safety of UV rays or the effectiveness of sun therapy – I’ll save that for another time.
The indoor tanning habits of more than 200 female students were studied at East Tennessee State University. The results were published by The Archives of Dermatology and brought to my attention, courtesy of The New York Times. Nearly 40 percent of the students went tanning for the first time with their mom. These girls were much more likely to become habitual tanners later in life. Girls who first went tanning with friends started, on average, at 16 years old. The other girls who went with their mom for the first time started much earlier, at about 14 years old. Dermatologists are concerned that indoor tanning at any age, but especially so young, greatly increases the person’s risk for skin cancer.