ways to protect your skin this summer

Temperatures are getting warmer, the sun is shining, and children are counting down the last days of school. Summer is almost here. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and the perfect time to reassess your skin protection plan and consider visiting one of our local dermatologists. Fort Collins dermatologists can check the condition of your skin and create a personalized plan to protect your skin from deadly skin cancer.

Here are six ways to protect your skin this summer.

Wear Sunscreen

The most basic rule of summer skin care is also the most important. Merely putting on sunscreen every day can protect your skin from harmful UV rays. It’s important to wear sunscreen year-round, but it’s especially important in the summer. Experts recommend using a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for everyday wear. For best results, use a waterproof sunscreen and put it on at least 15 minutes before you’re exposed to the sun. For outdoor activities and days when you’ll be in the sun longer, use a higher SPF sunscreen and reapply it regularly. Click here for more sunscreen tips.

Avoid Peak Sun

It’s impossible to avoid being out in the sun completely, but try to stay out of the sun during the peak times of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is when the sun is strongest, which means that the UV rays are more powerful. If you have to be outside during peak sun times, reapply sunscreen often and protect yourself under shelter or an umbrella. Avoid reflective surfaces like sand and water, which can send more rays to your skin. Pay attention to the weather forecast and the UV Index Scale, which shows the strength of the UV rays. Apps like SunZapp can track the sun’s intensity and also remind you to reapply sunscreen.

Use Lip Protectant

Most people try to protect their skin in the summer with sunscreen, but they often forget about another sensitive area of the face: the lips. Lips are a common location for skin cancer because they’re exposed to the sun without any protection. To help avoid sun irritation, use a lip balm with SPF of at least 15 and apply it every two hours. Avoid shiny lip products like baby oil or shiny lip gloss when you’re in the sun because those items don’t provide much protection from UV rays.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

What you wear also has a significant impact on your skin protection. Wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection to keep harmful rays out of your eyes. Protect other sensitive skin areas like your neck and ears by wearing a large-brim hat or other protective accessories. If you’re going to be out in the sun for a long time, wear clothing made of UPF fabric. These items are specially made with an extra layer of protection from the sun built into the clothing itself.

Practice Healthy Habits

A healthy body leads to healthy skin. Practice healthy habits like exercising, eating a balanced diet, and taking daily vitamins. Avoid smoking, which can damage the collagen in your skin and make it more susceptible to dangerous sun rays. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated, and make sure to get lots of sleep and avoid stressful activities. Check any medications you’re taking to make sure they work well in the sun; some treatments may make your skin more sensitive.

Check Your Skin Regularly

Even people who are vigilant with their skin care can still have skin issues. Get in the habit of checking your skin regularly for uneven coloring or changes to moles, freckles, or birthmarks. Finding skin conditions before they develop into larger issues can be potentially life-saving. Visit the dermatologist regularly for more in-depth checkups, especially in areas that are hard to see on your own. Click here to learn more about how to check your skin for skin cancer.

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the sun. But do it responsibly! Be aware of the dangers of skin cancer and protect your skin to keep it healthy.