The beginning of summer is upon us. Whether we had clouds, rain or shine, I do hope that everyone enjoyed their Memorial Weekend and you were able to spend quality time with those family and friends near and dear to you, simply find some time for yourself and especially pay tribute to those who have served our country.
While we prepare for the summer months ahead, it's important to remember a few basic steps about how to be beautiful and keep the cancer rays away. Simply staying in the shade may be one of the best ways to limit our UV exposure, we know that it may not be practical all the time. So here are a few guidelines to follow to protect yourself from UV rays. The ACS (American Cancer Society) has a catch phrase called “Slip! Slop! Slap!® and Wrap”.
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on sunscreen.
- Slap on a hat.
- Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them.
Avoid being outdoors in direct sunlight too long, particularly between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, when UV light is strongest.
Protect your skin with clothing
Many companies now make clothing that’s lightweight, comfortable, and protects against UV exposure even when wet. Find garments with a high UV protection factor (UPF) label -- on a scale from 15 to 50+, the higher the UPF, the higher the protection from UV rays. Always bring extra tops and cover-ups for climate changes and that extra protection - I did!
Read the labels
When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to read the label. Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended. I tan so easy and use SPF 55 and get a great tan - love Neutrogena Ultra-sheer hypo-allergenic lotion!
Expiration dates: Check the expiration date on the sunscreen to be sure it’s still effective. Most sunscreen products are good for at least 2 to 3 years, but you may need to shake the bottle to remix the sunscreen ingredients.
Be sure to apply the sunscreen properly
Always follow the label directions. Most recommend applying sunscreen generously. When putting it on, pay close attention to your face, ears, neck, arms, tatas (ladies) and any other areas not covered by clothing. If you’re going to wear insect repellent or makeup, put the sunscreen on first or wear makeup that has an SPF included.
Wear a hat
Ideally, a hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around is ideal because it protects areas that are often exposed to intense sun, such as the ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp. Alternatively, you may prefer to wear a shade cap, baseball cap, or make one by wearing a UV ray-protected large handkerchief, scarf or bandana to block the UV rays. I had fun traveling this weekend and brought 3 hats and used them all! My floppy Betmar hat for the beach, a Helene Berman straw rim hat for fun and stylin' while out, and a collapsable Burberry rain hat during the drizzles and storm. You can have fun in the sun no matter what the weather - unstoppable and protected!
Wear sunglasses that block UV rays
UV-blocking sunglasses are important for protecting the delicate skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves. Research has shown that long hours in the sun without protecting your eyes increase your chances of developing certain eye diseases. Okay, I'm getting better at this and only brought 2 pairs of shades - go figure. Since I'm mentioning brands, I brought my Prada new scripts and Michael Kors sunglasses.
Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps
Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless - not true! Tanning lamps give out UVA and usually UVB rays and can cause long-term skin damage, and can contribute to skin cancer. Did you know that tanning bed use has been linked with an increased risk of melanoma, especially if it’s started before a person is 30.
And did you know that skin cancer is one of the 3 most prevalent common cancers among males as breast cancer is with women? [The 3 most prevalent cancers are prostate (3,306,760), colon and rectum (724,690), and melanoma (614,460) among males and breast (3,560,570), uterine corpus (757,190), and colon and rectum (727,350) among females. Source: ACS 2016 stats]. Most skin doctors and health organizations recommend NOT using tanning beds and sun lamps. Alternatively, there are many FDA approved skin care tanning options on the market today to provide the similar results. My secret to cover undesired leg bruises since I'm a clutz: perfekt! You will love this product sold at Sophora!
Protect children from the sun
Develop the habit of using sunscreen on exposed skin for yourself and your children whenever you go outdoors and may be exposed to large amounts of sunlight. Children need to be taught about the dangers of too much sun exposure as they become more independent. If you or your child burns easily, be extra careful to cover up, limit exposure, and apply sunscreen. Been there, done this and done good! My kids are independently self-protecting themselves with suntan lotion all the time - no reminders, yeah!
Sun exposure and vitamin D
Vitamin D has many health benefits -- it might even help lower the risk for some cancers. Your skin makes vitamin D naturally when you are in the sun. How much vitamin D you make depends on . . . how old you are, how dark your skin is, how strong the sunlight is where you live, etc. Whenever possible, it’s better to get vitamin D from your diet or vitamin supplements rather than from sun exposure because dietary sources and vitamin supplements do not increase skin cancer risk, and are typically more reliable ways to get the amount you need. I take Vitamin B, C and D as needed - know your body.
So just remember to Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap the next time you want to visit the Beach. That's what I did this past Memorial Weekend. I followed the ACS suggested steps to be beautiful and yet keep the cancer rays away and isn't that the best start to your summer season? If you're like me, plan ahead, and fill your beach bag with all the necessities and you'll be all set.
About Jean Criss – Criss is a ten year breast cancer survivor of bilateral cancer (DCIS — Ductal Carcinoma In Situ). She is the Founder and Designer of CRISSCROSSIntimates.com – luxury intimate apparel for women and men who undergo post-op surgeries! Criss is the Author of a trilogy series, My Pain Woke Me Up – BLISS!, Legal Injustice and LIVE Your Dreams and will be publishing another book on short reality stories soon. Criss recently received five CME accredited Breast Cancer Management Certifications from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and also received a Certificate of Honour by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons–Patients of Courage:Triumph over Adversity Award. Criss served on the Board of Trustees:Susan G. Komen North Jersey Affiliate, has produced award-winning PSAs, co-chaired gala events, is a member of their Speaker’s Bureau and continues to fundraise and volunteer with Komen affiliates. She works with research organizations and educational charities to support breast cancer at large.