As a midwesterner, I suffer through a long and cold winter. When summer arrives, all I want to do is feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and enjoy all of the natural outdoor riches. My favorite times are riding in the boat on Lake Michigan as the sun shines warmly down on our family. Rushing along those beautiful blue waters with the wind whipping all around. The reward is that beautiful sun kissed glow that says, “I’m alive, healthy and enjoying life.” Unfortunately, as a melanoma survivor that sun kissed glow has taken on a very different message. One that says, “I am cutting my days short.”
But how can we have both? How can we live a full and active life while still protecting ourselves from the deadly effects of the sun?
Sunality’s Top Ten Summer Survival Tips:
- Buy a rash guard.
- Make sure it is UPF 50+ and find one with some sexy style that you can mix and match with multiple swimsuits. A rash guard will give you all day sun protection better than any chemical based sunscreen. It won’t wash off, it won’t miss a spot and it won’t expire.
- Make it a family style.
- Rash guards keep everyone sun safe, chemical free and help keep you warm when out boating at fast speeds.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat.
- Try to get one with at least a 3-inch brim but if you just can’t manage that, get anything that will keep the sun off your scalp, forehead and nose.
- Use sunscreen every two hours and make sure it is at least SPF 30.
- My favorite brands are Coppertone Babies for kids and Neutrogena for adults.
- Only use sunscreen lotions vs. sprays.
- The spray adds extra chemicals for the expectorant and you never can guarantee a quality and complete application.
- Invest in a great pair of sunglasses.
- Melanoma can form in the eye, so it is just as important to protect your eyes as it is to protect your skin. Pick a classic style like an aviator or tortoise shell and then try to invest in a new style annually.
- Eat healthy.
- Help your immune system fight skin cancer by eating a healthy and well balance diet. Your immune system is your first line of defense against cancer. If you reward it with healthy eating, it will reward you with a long life.
- Purchase bathing suit cover-ups that offer UPF 50+.
- This will allow you to enjoy your time on the beach or boat without worrying about re-applying sunscreen. Some of the styles can also be worn as daytime clothing for shopping excursions or golf outings.
- Seek shade.
- If you are on the beach and you can’t find a shade tree then bring the shade with you. Many companies offer UPF 50+ pop-up tents which can be a great option for a traveling shade. UPF umbrellas are also a popular choice.
- Embrace the pale.
- Many of us were not born with golden skin meant for lounging in the sun. The best way to avoid skin cancer is to just embrace the pale skin that you were given. While a tan can make you feel strong and young, the effect it is taking on your skin is quite the opposite.
Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. The good news is that most skin cancer can be avoided by living an active but protected life in the sun.