Summer is here and so is the warm weather! It’s time to start thinking about how to protect your skin from those harmful UV rays. While packing for your next outdoor adventure, don’t forget to grab one of the most important items: sunscreen.

Why You Should Use Sunscreen

Sure, you’ve heard about the importance of putting on sunscreen at the beach, but harmful exposure to the sun can happen all year round. Overexposure to the sun doesn’t just cause sunburn, it can darken pigmentation, lead to premature signs of aging and cause skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer, and this number is growing rapidly.

Skin Cancer

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers are a result of UV radiation from the sun. Skin cancer is a result of uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells, and its growth begins. Some types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Although melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, it’s the most dangerous form because it can spread rapidly. The risk for melanoma increases if you live in sunny climates, at high altitudes or use tanning beds. Melanoma  can develop anywhere on the skin, but certain areas are more prone than others. In men, the most common areas are the head, neck and back. For women, the most common spots are arms and legs.

How & When to Apply

If you’re thinking about going outside on a hot summer day, don’t forget to apply sunscreen. Shake the sunscreen well, and be sure to apply 30 minutes before going out in the sun so that it can be absorbed. Whether you’re going for a swim or on a run, make sure you reapply, reapply, reapply! Properly applying sunscreen is key to protecting your skin from those damaging UV rays.

  • Pro Tip: Pick a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UV-A and UV-B rays, AND check the expiration date because some sunscreen ingredients can degrade over time.

How to Protect Your Skin

To protect yourself from potential damage to your skin, it is important to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen every day. Even if you don’t think you’ll be in the sun, the UV rays can impact your skin through glass, cloud coverage and even your clothing. If you’re a person who doesn’t really think much about wearing hats, you might want to reconsider. In addition to sunscreen, hats provide great sun protection all year-long.

More than 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3 million people in the U.S., and these numbers are growing. Because Philadelphia is home to some of the top cancer treatment centers in the U.S., it is our mission to help families seeking these treatments. From financial assistance to complimentary housing and peer support at Nick’s House, HEADstrong Foundation offers continued support to cancer patients and their families. Interested in helping our cause? Become a volunteer or donate to directly help those affected by cancer.

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