Summer officially begins this Friday, meaning the days are expected to soon get warmer and Santa Clarita Valley residents are set to spend more time outside participating in activities like hiking, camping and swimming at the beach.
Though it might not always be evident, spending too much time in the sun, soaking up its harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can be harmful to kids, adults and seniors alike, which is why doctors are encouraging residents to protect themselves this summer.
“It’s important to know that regardless which sex or race you belong to, you need to protect your skin from UV radiation to lessen your risk of skin cancer,” said Dr. Evette Ramsay, a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “Using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher is advisable, and it should be reapplied as needed, including every one to two hours when in the water or when perspiring.”
However, Ramsay added that using sunscreen alone isn’t always enough to protect oneself during prolonged sun exposure, so the dermatologist recommended other steps one should consider taking to protect themselves and their loved ones.
- Avoid the sun during its peak hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Understand that sand, water and snow can reflect 85% of the sun’s rays, which increases the rays’ harmful effects on the skin
- To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses that are capable of blocking 99% of UVA and UVB radiation.
- When possible, wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing to cover most of your skin.
- Wear clothing with the UPF label that helps protect against UV radiation.
- Because their skin is more sensitive, completely shield the skin of babies younger than 6 months from the sun.
“It may not be possible to completely prevent skin cancer, but taking these precautions will help,” Ramsay said. “Also, keep an eye on new spots or growths on your skin, as they could be early signs of skin cancer. With early detection, skin cancer can be treated more easily. That’s why it’s important to regularly have your skin checked by a doctor.”