Healthy Habits

Enjoy Summer Safely

Content provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team

Sun protection is important year-round. Whether you are working in the yard, watching a ballgame, or taking an afternoon walk, make sun safety an everyday habit so you can avoid getting a sunburn and lower your chance of skin cancer.

Did you know? Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes.

Skin cells use the sun’s ultraviolet (UV rays) to help manufacture vitamin D, which contributes to bone formation, immune health, muscle function, and brain development. However, too much time spent in the sun without proper protection can lead to sunburn and, eventually, skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis (the outermost skin layer) that triggers mutations. These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. The main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma.

UV radiation from the sun is dangerous and unassuming. Not only can it cause premature aging and skin cancer, it reaches you even when you’re trying to avoid it by penetrating clouds and glass or bouncing off of snow, water, and sand. Sun damage accumulates over the years, from prolonged outdoor exposure to simple activities like walking the dog, going from your car to the store, and bringing in the mail.

Reduce your risk of skin cancer and enjoy summer safely with these tips:

  • Ensure you have protective clothing and hats. Consider having a tote in your car with appropriate sun protective gear.
  • Buy the right kind of sunscreen. Look for a broad-spectrum (protective against both UVA and UVB rays), water-resistant sunscreen. An SPF of at least 30 is recommended.
  • Protect your eyes by making sure your sunglasses block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Be careful near reflective surfaces. Pools, sand, and even snow can reflect the sun causing unexpected sun damage.
  • Invest in an SPF lip balm to protect your lips.
  • Watch the clock and find some shade. UV rays are strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Find some shade to avoid direct exposure.
  • Check the expiration date of your sunscreen. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time, so throw it out once it is past its expiration date.
  • Avoid indoor tanning. Cancel your indoor tanning subscription. Consistent exposure to these UV rays can easily lead to skin cancer.
  • Check your skin for suspicious changes to help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages. Early detection of skin cancer gives you the greatest chance for successful skin cancer treatment.


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