Raise your hand if you love summer! The warmer temperatures are here, and we are loving it right along with you. While the summer season is a favorite for many people, it is important to protect yourself against the dangers of the strong summer sun.

Minimizing your long-term exposure and protecting your skin from burning should always be your priority whenever you are outside. Repeated sunburns (and even sun exposure without a burn) can increase your risk for skin cancer and other health conditions.

Our AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga team wants you to enjoy a safe and fun-filled summer, so check out our tips on sun safety below.

Why Does Skin Burn?

When the sun shines on our skin, it is introducing UV, or ultraviolet light, directly into your skin’s cells. This light is damaging to your cell DNA and this damage produces a painful red inflamed skin reaction. Even though the reaction will subside after a few days, the damage done to your cells is permanent.

You may not notice the effects right away, but you will over time. Sun spots and premature wrinkles are common problems of overexposure, and your risk of developing skin cancer increases dramatically.

Signs of Skin Cancer to Watch For

  • A new change to your skin, like a growth or sore
  • A changing mole
  • Skin itchiness
  • The appearance of a lump under the skin

What Are the Best Ways to Avoid a Sunburn?

Most of you probably know that you should be wearing sunscreen whenever you are outside in the direct sunlight, but you should actually be applying it before going outside in any situation. You can burn your skin on a cloudy day! Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to your exposed skin and reapply it every two hours while outside.

You can also make smart wardrobe choices to help protect your skin. A wide brimmed hat and sunglasses can help protect the most sensitive parts of your skin, and you may also want to consider investing in some UV-protective clothing. This type of clothing is created to block the UV rays from reaching your skin. Of course, staying in the shade and avoiding direct sunlight in the heat of the day are also great ways to stay safe.

Tips to Treat a Burn

  • Apply a cool, wet cloth to the skin.
  • Apply aloe gel or a moisturizing lotion.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Stay out of the sun.

Sun safety is crucial throughout your life. If you are worried about a potential sign of skin cancer, come see us at AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga.