Summer skin care

Be active with your family outside this summer but don’t forget these tips to staying safe.

Summertime in Michigan means going to the beach with family and swimming in the lake! Schools out and kids are ready for some fun outdoors. Outdoor physical activity is great and an awesome way for the young ones to burn off some extra energy, but sometimes we forget about the harmful effects from the sun.

Although the sun is very hot, it also does some cool things. It keeps us warm and helps the flowers and plants grow all around us. It even gives us vitamin D so we can better absorb calcium into our bodies for strong bones. The sun is able to do all of these cool things by giving off sunlight, which includes invisible ultraviolet or “UV” rays, which are harsh on the skin if not properly protected.

Ultraviolet rays pass through air and clouds and penetrate the skin without you even knowing. When the skin's been exposed to too many of these rays, the skin gets red, hot and turns into what's known as a “sunburn,” since it’s literally a burn from the sun. While adults may understand the benefits of reapplying sunscreen, kids may not know to reapply sunscreen after they get done swimming or sweating – a constant reminder is needed for their busy brains!

Sun protection is important and can prevent hurtful, harmful sunburn! Applying sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) every couple of hours, wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays, taking a break in the shade, or covering up the skin with clothing can all prevent sunburn. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), once the skin has been burnt five times, that skin is now 100 percent at risk for developing skin cancer! Skin cancer can be developed when the ultraviolet rays hit the unprotected skin, causing and abnormal growth in cells. When caught early, skin cancer is may be treatable.

Also make sure that everyone is consuming enough water; while you are sweating, the body is using its water supply quickly and it’s easy to become dehydrated.

Although we may like the “tanned” skin look, sun protection is important for our health. Take a break from the sun every so often, while it’s relaxing, it can be exhausting and even damaging. It’s as simple as applying sunscreen, sitting in the shade or wearing a hat; also remember to drink lots of water throughout the day, but most of all enjoy your healthy summer!

For more information on summer sun safety the Michigan State University Extension article by Kendra Moyses, “Stay safe in the sun.” Also visit the CDC website or call 1‐800‐CDC‐INFO.

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