July is UV Safety Month — Let’s Make it a Burn-Free Summer!

It’s summer --- the sun is shining, swimming suits are on, the lemonade is poured and and the pool is calling our names. But wait, did you remember the most important accessory... SUNSCREEN?!

In honor of UV Safety Month, we’re encouraging our community to take a few minutes to learn how to properly protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays. Even if you think you’re a pro, continue reading as surveys show that an average of only half of the people on a given sunny day wear sunscreen properly.

The Risk of Neglecting Sun Protection

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States and more than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in this country each year. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 76,600 cases of skin cancer in 2013.

While tan skin can be appealing now, the underlying consequences are too harmful to ignore. Extended exposure to the sun can also cause:

  • Wrinkles

  • The appearance of aging

  • Sunspots

  • Eye damage

5 Tips for Ultimate Sun Safety:

  1. Expired Sunscreen
    Does sunscreen have a specific shelf life? Absolutely! The importance of discarding sunscreen after a maximum of three years cannot be stressed enough. Exposure to high temperatures, as well as changes in consistency, color or smell should cause you to discard your sunscreen and buy a new bottle. Check expiration dates before every application and toss it out if you have any hesitations. Sunscreen is one area where you cannot afford to skimp to save a dollar.

  2. Cover Up
    If you are in the sun for any amount of time, covering up is the best way to protect yourself. Put on a shirt, grab a wide brim hat, wear large sunglasses and find shade. Be careful though - powerful UV rays can still penetrate clothing, bathing suits and hats. Even when you’re covered, sunscreen still matters!

  3. Protect Your Precious Vision
    Wearing sunglasses that block UV rays will protect the skin around the eyes, as well as your eyes themselves. Studies have shown that time in the sun without eye protection leads to an increased chance of developing some eye diseases. Look for sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB radiation.

  4. Avoid Excessive Sunlight
    Never, ever visit a tanning bed! Achieve the appearance of a natural tan without the risk from UV rays by using one of a plethora of sunless tanning options.

  5. Be Generous and Reapply Often
    Lotions, creams, sprays, gels, wipes, lip balms... there are tons of easy-to-use options! While many people understand the importance of using sunscreens, they fail to use enough of it. Choose your favorite variety, lather it on and reapply often (especially after you sweat or jump in the pool). Pay special attention to your face, ears, neck, arms, hands, feet and any areas not covered by clothing. An added bonus: if you are using the recommended amount and reapplying often, you won’t need to worry about expiration dates!

Educate Friends and Family

UV rays are so dangerous that protecting yourself and your family should be a priority, not only during your summer beach vacation, but year-round.

To learn more about the dangers associated with sun exposure and to see which products are best for protecting your family, stop by Birdsboro Pharmacy. We’re ready to help you make this the best, burn-free summer possible!

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