Take This Refresher on Skin Safety in Summer Sun
Sun protection is essential as you enjoy the outdoors this summer, a skin expert stresses.
"Skin cancer is the most common cancer in humans so it's important that we do what we can to protect ourselves," Dr. Ida Orengo, a professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a school news release.
Here are some of her tips:
- Wear a sunscreen with SPF 30 or above and reapply every two hours when outdoors. Recent reports about the chemical benzene in sunscreens were limited to specific spray and gel sunscreens. But if you're concerned about ingredients in chemical sunscreens, use a physical blocking sunscreen made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Other alternatives include using a daily moisturizer that contains SPF, or products like Klenskin body wash that contain sunscreen.
- Avoid the sun during peak hours -- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you are outside during peak hours, use sunscreen, protective clothing and stay in the shade when possible. Protective clothing is made with tightly woven fabrics that block the sun or contain SPF. Another option is to wash your summer wardrobe in a detergent that adds UV protection into clothing, such as SunGuard. Also, keep a sun shirt or jacket in your car so that you'll have sun protection on hand if you suddenly decide to spend time outdoors.
- Protect your head and feet. Wear a hat with a brim that is at least three inches wide to protect your head and neck, as well as sunglasses with UV protection. Don't forget to put sunscreen on your feet or to wear shoes that cover the tops of your feet.
- Consider supplements. There's evidence that some vitamin supplements can protect you from the sun, said Orengo, recommending a vitamin B3 called nicotinamide. She advised taking 500 mg twice a day, but said to consult with your physician first. "In one study with nicotinamide, the researchers found that it had a 30% reduction in skin cancers," Orengo said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on sun safety.
SOURCE: Baylor College of Medicine, news release, July 22, 2021