Colorado is known for bright sunny days and clear blue skies. Those beautiful sunny days mean we have to be extra careful about sun protection. Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Here are some practical tips to help you and your family stay sun-safe.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. You should wear sunscreen every single day. Some dermatologists recommend SPF 15 at a minimum; others say SPF 30 is the lowest you should go. If you’re at higher risk for skin cancer, your doctor may recommend even more protection.
Stash bottles of sunscreen in your car, backpack, on your bike, and elsewhere. An active Colorado lifestyle means you can’t always be sure where the day will take you. A little planning will help you protect your skin when you get a few extra minutes to hit the trail or jump on your bike.
Remember to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside and reapply as needed. A good guideline is to reapply every one to two hours, especially if you’re perspiring.
Gone are the days of silly looking sun hats. There are plenty of modern and stylish hats available. Look for one with a wide brim that shades your neck, ears, and entire face. Sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) rays provide additional protection for your eyes.
The sun’s rays get more intense the higher you go. The need for sun protection increases as your hike, bike ride or other activity takes you to higher elevations.
Sunscreen is always good, and you can even buy clothing made of fabric that protects against the sun’s rays.
Avoiding sun exposure is the best way to protect your skin from damage, but you can’t stay indoors all day. The sun’s rays are harshest and most damaging midday --from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you can’t avoid the heat of the day, all advice about sunscreen and protective clothing becomes even more important – important enough to repeat: apply and reapply sunscreen, wear a hat, and pop on some sunglasses. While you’re at it, remember to drink plenty of water. All that sunshine can be dehydrating.