Hawaii Health Alerts: Protect Your Skin This Summer

A whopping one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.

Medically reviewed in February 2022

July is UV Safety Month and you’d think that as a beauty enthusiast, I’d have my UV protection game on point—but I don’t.

You see, I grew up on Kauai where I spent countless hours at the beach with friends and family. Birthdays, baby showers or simply going “just because” were reasons to be in the sun and near the ocean. I rarely applied sunscreen because my kid brain was under the impression that I was already tan.

I rarely got sunburn and, if anything, being in the sun made me tanner—which I was proud of. The sun no longer turns me that coveted golden-bronze color that everyone longs for. My skin is extremely sensitive to the sun’s rays and my face, shoulders, arms and legs are always the first areas to get sun burned. I can’t say that I've made a conscious effort to apply sunscreen religiously, but I may need to reconsider.

Did you know that melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hawaii has the highest melanoma rate in the nation. And according to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer. But if caught early, there’s a 98 percent chance of the cancer being cured. Here are four things you should know about protecting your skin this summer.

Pick a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher
The saying, “The more the merrier,” rings true for SPF. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends we use a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects our skin from UVA and UVB cancer-causing rays.

Reapply sunscreen accordingly
Most sunscreens only last for about 40 to 80 minutes, so be sure to reapply accordingly.

Apply one ounce of sunscreen
Most people apply less than half the recommended sunscreen to the sun-exposed areas of our bodies. Be sure to apply the recommended one ounce—one shot glass full—of sunscreen.

Opt for a moisturizer with SPF
Beauty brands are making it super easy to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Unprotected skin puts us at risk for premature aging and wrinkling. Swap out your day cream for a moisturizer with SPF. If you wear makeup, use a foundation with SPF.

Cover up
It seems a bit silly to put more clothes on when it's scorching hot, but unintentional sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer. Consider wearing light layers or a wide-brimmed hat while running errands or relaxing outside on your lanai. Your skin will thank you.

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

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