Courtesy of Cy-Fair Hospital
Taking excellent care of your skin is one of the most important things you can do for your health and well-being. Everyone needs some sun exposure. The emphasis is on “some” because too much sun can cause skin cancer, eye problems, weakened immune system, prematurely aged skin or unsightly skin spots. The skin is the largest organ in the human body and performs many incredible, life-sustaining functions. It is important to take care of your skin because it helps shield against heat and light, protect from injury and infection, regulate body temperature, store water and fat, and make vitamin D.
Knowing how to protect yourself from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can turn the “ouch” of a painful sunburn into the “ahhh” of healthy skin.
How to Protect Yourself
Practicing basic sun safety is a good step for people of all ages to lower their risk for skin cancer. Here are a few ways to be sun safe:
■ Avoid sun exposure during the peak hours of the day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
■ Cover your skin with light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and wear a wide-brimmed hat that can provide shade for the face, neck, and ears.
■ Wear sunglasses that offer UV protection.
■ Apply sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher for normal, everyday activities. For longer exposures, use a sunscreen that’s also waterproof and reapply it throughout your outdoor activities. Sunscreen should be used on cloudy days as well as sunny days.
Protecting Your Kids
Do not use sunscreen on babies under six months old. Keep them out of the sun whenever possible or use an umbrella to create shade. Dress them in clothing that covers their entire body, including a wide-brim hat to shield the face.
Put sunscreen on older children and encourage them to wear real sunglasses that have UV protection for their eyes rather than toy sunglasses.
After the Sun
You may not realize until it is too late that your skin is burned because sunburn can take six to 48 hours to develop. In these situations, apply cool compresses or pure aloe vera to the skin to alleviate heat and help skin heal faster. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken to relieve pain. A moisturizing or hydrocortisone cream may be applied to rehydrate skin and reduce swelling. Leave alone any blisters that may develop to reduce the risk of infection or scarring.
Sun Safety: Call for Your Free Kit: With spring upon us and summer right around the corner, remember to protect your children’s skin as your family enjoys the outdoors. Call us at 877-763-9467 to get a free Summer Sun Safety Kit, a pocket-sized set that includes sunscreen packets, adhesive bandages, moist towelettes, and more to help make sure you’re prepared when on the go. Limit two per household. $2.50 retail value.