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It’s summer in the northern hemisphere and that means catching sun…

Even if you don’t live by the beach, the UV radiation is slicking through the atmosphere like a knife through butter. By no means should you not “let the sunshine in.” Below are a few tips to do it correctly.

1. Get some shades.

Sunglasses don’t just act as a fashion statement or a shield to look wherever you want with

people being none-the-wiser. Sunglasses are also pivotal shields from damaging UV rays that can take a toll on your eyes. If you are a bit vainer, like the writer of this article, you will be glad to know that it reduces wrinkles and aging by keeping your facial muscles from squinting and wrinkling your skin. In lieu of this, make sure your sunglasses also say they block UV rays, preferably 99% or higher, this will also help avoid cataracts and other ailments.

Statistic: 1 out of 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they’re 70.*

2. Protect yourself from the inside.

Firstly, if you are getting sun because you believe you require more vitamin D, just take a

supplement. It will give you the same benefits without the solar damage. Additionally, there are many substances that can help protect your overall health from sun damage. A frequent

ingredient in sun protective supplements is Polypodium Leucotomos. Studies show that this fern extract can decrease redness after sun exposure. Take any recommended dose in the morning if you know you might spend the day outside. This does not replace sunscreen, which we’ll mention next.

3. Yep, sun block round the clock.

It doesn’t matter what skin type you have, or how hot the sun seems. Everyone needs to apply sunscreen to avoid medical issues such as skin cancer. UV rays can be damaging in as little as 15 minutes. Make sure to apply a blocker that has 15 spf (minimum) and that says broad spectrum coverage. Otherwise, you might only be blocking a few of the damaging rays. And don’t forget the top of your ears, which get constant exposure but the least attention.

When applying the sunblock, make sure you spread it generously and evenly about 20 minutes before the exposure so your skin can soak up the benefits before being mitigated by sweat or water.

Statistic: The yearly cost of skin cancer treatment in the U.S. is approximately $8.1 billion. **

4. Clothing and timing.

If you are not bathing in the ocean, it is important to wear the right clothing. Remember that

any exposure needs to be attended to. Therefore, if you are wearing a tank top, you are

essentially tanning your shoulders, so you should take the same measures as if you were at the beach. If possible, wear clothing that covers you adequately throughout the day, as you may not notice the length of time you are out in the sun daily. Note that the UV rays are the

strongest and most dangerous between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

5. Know your skin.

If you are residing in a tropical, equatorial region for the first time, you might not know your

skin’s strengths and faults. Some people might cook in a few minutes, like a hot pocket. Others might take a few hours like a pot roast. But all skin types get the same damage and harmful rays in the same length of time, whether it is visible. Always take proper measures. That being said,it is intelligent to know your beauty marks and discoloration. Any changes in your skin, be it new moles or discoloration must be noted and then checked by your physician.

More than 5.4 million nonmelanoma skin cancer cases received treatment in the U.S. in  2012.

When all is said and done, and the proper measures are implemented, the sunshine is a wonderful antidepressant. Have fun and enjoy your time in the sun. Just be smart about it.

*Stern, RS. Prevalence of a history of skin cancer in 2007: results of an incidence-based model. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):279-282.

** Guy GP, Machlin SR, Ekwueme DU, Yabroff KR. Prevalence and costs of skin cancer treatment in the U.S., 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. Am J Prev Med 2015; 48(2):183-187. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.08.036.

***Rogers HW, Weinstock MA, Feldman SR, Coldiron BM. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer (keratinocyte carcinomas) in the US population, 2012. JAMA Dermatol 2015; 151(10):1081-1086.

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