It happens to all of us. Summer hits, we start wearing more skirts, and you look down at those legs that have been in hiding all winter. They’re pale, and if you’re like me, paler than average. Then you start to think, “I need a tan…”
Well, you don’t. Really. You absolutely don’t.
A few days ago, I got the news that a sorority sister of mine had lost her father after a two year battle with Melanoma. She’s my age. She and I have never been close but have have always gotten along, and my heart is breaking for her. I’ve always known her to be a kind, amazing person, and I can’t imagine the pain she is going through right now, having lost her dad. He was not only a father, but a husband, a brother, a grandfather…so many things to so many people.
A few days prior to his passing, she posted that July is UV safety month. The timing couldn’t be more fitting. She is a private person, so I don’t know any of the details of her father’s illness, but I do know that Melanoma is highly preventable. Seriously, wear sunscreen. It boggles my mind that so many of us forget, and every bit of sun exposure requires protection.
I’ve always been fair-skinned. Chris is fair-skinned, and so is Abbie. It’s something we think about on a regular basis, but I know we could do better. Abbie never plays outside without sunscreen and her sunhat (even though she tries to take it off half the time). When buying her bathing suits, I prefer to buy her rashguards, and I’m always keeping sunscreen in my bag for her. Sadly, I’m prone to forgetting for myself unless I’m going to the pool or playground. This has been a wake up call, and I’ll be working harder to make sure I wear it every day. Is it a little bit inconvenient? Sure. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
If you’d like to read more about UV Safety Month, you can do so here, but here are a few tips:
- Stay in the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. I prefer a minimum of 30 for myself and 50 for Abbie.
- Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days- UV rays can still get through the clouds.
- Apply sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go outside. Don’t forget your lips, ears, hands, feet, and the back of your neck.
- Cover up with long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses.
- Check your skin regularly – doctors recommend once a month. Use mirrors to check hard to see spots, and report any changes that worry you to your doctor.
Are you diligent about sun safety? Make sure you are – skin can be damaged in as little as 15 minutes!