Northwest Iowa — The first weekend of the summer activity and travel season is upon us, and it’s natural to want to get out in the sun once the weather warms up.
But the American Cancer Society says it should also be natural to take steps to protect your skin from the sun when you go outside. That’s why the Friday before Memorial Day is designated Don’t Fry Day – a day to raise awareness of sun safety and encourage everyone to take steps to protect their skin.
American Cancer Society officials say that ultraviolet (UV) rays — from the sun and other sources like tanning beds — are the primary cause of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. But Ann Hoeppner with the American Cancer Society in Sioux City says that shielding your skin with clothing, sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, and shade can help lower your risk.
She says it’s easy to know when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
Hoeppner says protecting yourself from the sun is not just a beach or outdoor activity thing, it’s something you need to do every time you are out in the sun.
She says make sure your sunscreen is broad-spectrum, protecting from both UVA and UVB rays, and is not expired. She says it does last for about two years, but check the expiration date. She says an SPF or Sun Protection Factor of 30 blocks out 97 percent of the sun’s rays, in theory. Again, in theory, the number is a factor of how much longer you can be in the sun before getting burned. So an SPF of 30 means you could stay out 30 times longer.
Hoeppner says that sunscreen does not last all day, even if it’s waterproof.
She gives us an idea of how much creme-type sunscreen to apply.
She says if you’re using the spray-type sunscreen just to make sure you get a good application and don’t skimp. She says the skin should have a sheen after application.
Again, she says don’t forget those sunglasses and hats and other protective clothing. Plus, if you can seek some shade, that will help as well.
Here are those simple steps again:
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on sunscreen.
- Slap on a hat.
- Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them.