Though often overlooked, skin is the largest organ of the body. And because it’s located on the outside of the body, it requires more consideration than it’s typically given. With the longer days and increased time in sunlight, the effects of summer can be damaging. Whether riding a bike, taking a walk, or lounging poolside, it’s important to protect sensitive skin and eyes from too much exposure to UVA/UVB rays.
Some startling statistics:
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people diagnosed annually.
- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
The biggest mistake people make is not using sunscreen. Just like smoking, it’s hard to imagine there are those who neglect to lather up before going outside; still, according to a recent survey from The Skin Cancer Foundation, 49 percent of men and 29 percent of women say they haven’t used sunscreen in the past 12 months. Unfortunately, the results can be devastating, with a reported 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers in the U.S. linked to sun exposure.
For those who do apply sunscreen, it’s often applied incorrectly. Even among those in the know, the answer to the questions of how much sunscreen, and how often to reapply often remain uncertain. According to the same Skin Cancer Foundation survey, over 60 percent of men believed one application would protect them for four hours or more.
In reality, most sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours, and more frequently when swimming or performing heavy exercise, applying a generous coat to skin that’s not covered by clothes. Though it will vary slightly depending on body size, an ounce of sunscreen is a good estimate, approximately enough to fill a shot glass. The average person uses less than half that amount.
During the summer months, when spending more time outside and being active, taking time to apply sunscreen may seem insignificant; in the long run, it can truly save your hide.