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Keep Your Skin Healthy While Enjoying the Summer Sun

June 21, 2013

As the weather warms up we find ourselves spending more time outside. Taking care of your skin is essential, especially in the summertime.

Skin is the body’s largest organ, a waterproof shield providing the first line of defense against foreign substances as well as protecting the body from trauma. Covering about 3,000 square inches, your skin helps regulate body temperature and manufactures bone-strengthening vitamin D, produced through exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

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Protecting your skin

Your body only needs about 10 minutes of daily sun exposure (without sunscreen) to produce vitamin D. If you are going to spend more than a few minutes outside, sunscreen should be used to avoid sunburn and reduce your risk of skin cancer. Protect your skin from those harmful UV rays even on cloudy days.

  • Sunscreen should be water resistant and SPF-15 or higher
  • Use a lip balm or lipstick with SPF-15 protection
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face and ears
  • Choose sunglasses that provide UV 400 protection

Treating a sunburn

As soon as you feel that tingling burn or notice your skin turning pink, get out of the sun! It can take hours for all of the symptoms to develop. Try these techniques to reduce skin redness and pain:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and redness
  • Apply a cold compress to your skin
  • Take a cool bath or gentle shower and moisturize to make peeling less noticeable
  • Apply aloe vera or cortisone cream to soothe skin
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

Getting a sunburn causes long lasting damage, especially in children. In fact, just one bad burn as a child can double their lifetime risk of skin cancer. Seek medical attention if blistering or fever occurs.

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