Summer is here again, the carefree period of holidays, the beach, and sunbathing. So, let’s prepare for the summer season so that our skin doesn’t get lasting memories. While enjoying the summer and various outdoor activities, we need to protect our skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. According to research by the Mayo Clinic in America, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with more than 2 million cases diagnosed each year, and one in five Americans developing skin cancer. Unfortunately, these proportions are similar in the rest of the world. The steps for prevention are summarized here by Dr. Zsófia Hatvani, PhD, a dermatologist at Dr. Rose Private Hospital.
How do we protect our skin, how do we sunbathe wisely?
- Use sunscreens with a sun protection factor of at least 30 (SPF30), the higher the SPF number, the stronger the sun protection. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours - this is especially important if we sweat heavily, or bathe, or swim. The protection, which physically protects the skin from sunburn, is equally important for women, men, children, for lighter and darker skins, and those who spend a lot of time outdoors due to their work or lifestyle.
- Dress appropriately and wear a sun hat. We might not consider it, but our skin can burn while out sightseeing or working outdoors. Sunglasses with a UV filter will protect our eyes.
- Avoid sunbathing and preferably direct sunlight in the afternoon (between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.), when UV radiation is strongest. If our lifestyle or recreational activities do not allow this, the use of sunscreen and appropriate clothing is required.
- Take care to protect children’s skin - sunscreen can be applied from the age of six months.
- Use tested sunscreen products, avoid scented products for sensitive skin, and always observe a sunscreen’s expiration date.
- Examine skin regularly and see a doctor if your moles are irregular in shape, or the edges are blurry, irregular, or if the mole is not uniform in color, larger than 5mm, or has an uneven surface. Consult a dermatologist if you experience any changes in your moles.
- Attend annual skin cancer screenings.
What are the benefits of sunbathing?
- Vitamin D is formed in our bodies when exposed to sunlight.
To get vitamin D, it is not necessary to expose ourselves to the critical, strongest UV effect, which burns the skin noticeably between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and thus can cause significant damage to skin cells.
Vitamin D can be obtained not only by sunbathing: certain foods are high in vitamin D, including dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, cream, hard cheese, and oily fish (herring, salmon, cod liver), caviar, egg yolk, veal, and beef. In cases of low vitamin D levels, vitamin D supplementation with medicine and dietary supplements is necessary.
- Time spent outdoors sunbathing and being active contributes to recharging our batteries and a good frame of mind.
So, let’s stick to the suggestions above and reshape those summer habits: choose the morning and late afternoon for sports. Protect your skin on any kind of outing as well. And whenever possible, spend your siesta hours indoors.
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