Health & Medicine

Protect your skin when out in the sun this summer

Alena Glass
Alena Glass

It’s Independence Day, and it’s time to celebrate. When you’re preparing to go to the pool, lake, beach, zoo or whatever outdoor destination you may have in mind, don’t forget to make plans to protect your skin.

All skin types need protection from ultraviolet rays, which can be to blame for skin cancer. You may purchase a UV indicator that lets you know how to protect yourself depending on what the color is that shows up on the device. It directs you to wear sunglasses, stay in the shade or stay indoors according to the directions insert that is color-coded and easy-to-use.

Grab the following items before going out of the door or plan to purchase them on your way:

▪  Sunscreen that is SPF of 30 or higher

▪  A hat that has a wide brim that will cover the face

▪  A cover-up or a long-sleeve shirt that covers the arms

▪  Sunglasses that have protection against UV rays

▪  Lip balm with SPF of 30

▪  Inflatable float that offers shade above

▪  Shade tent

It is of utmost importance to also understand how to apply sunscreen and when to reapply during your adventure for the day. Read the sunscreen bottle directions. You should apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before you go outside. Reapply sunscreen every two hours. You may need to reapply sooner if you have been sweating, swimming or drying off with your towel.

Taking sun safety precautions now can help you avoid problems in the future. The time delay between heavy sun exposure/sunburn and melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer — is more than 10 years.

You can practice sun safety year-round by staying away from tanning beds and avoiding direct sun exposure daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Babies 6 months of age and younger should avoid all sun exposure.

Baptist Health Lexington’s Sun Safety Program participates on Wet and Wild Wednesdays at Lexington-Fayette County pools during the summer.

Please join us for upcoming Wet and Wild Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. July 6 at Castlewood pool; July 20 at Southland pool and July 30 at the Back-to-School Bash at the Douglass Park pool. We also would love to see you on July 16 at Seniors Dip and Dance at the Tates Creek pool.

Alena Glass is the Multidisciplinary Oncology Clinic coordinator at Baptist Health Lexington and is one of the coordinators of the hospital’s Sun Safety Program at local public pools.