Monique

My favorite time of the year is on its way. Summer. Beach trips, pool parties and hiking were how I spent my Beach picturesummers growing up in California. Now that I’ve made you want to vacation in California, here are some sun safety tips I learned after spending 25 years on the Pacific Coast.

In California, like in many beach communities, tanning is a part of the culture. And that was my first goal every
summer. Summer always entailed a few sunburns, but nothing major right? Wrong. In reality, skin cancer is very dangerous and the number of cases are growing in young adults. After I learned about the dangers of sun exposure, I realized I needed to change my ways immediately.

californiaMay is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Protection Month. Nearly 10,000 people are expected to die from melanoma skin cancer this year. UV rays (ultraviolet rays) from the sun are the primary cause of skin cancer. Are you protecting your skin? Everyone, regardless of age, hair color, race or gender, is at risk.

You can still hit the beach and show off your colorful swimsuit, but get smart and make summer sun safety a breeze with these five tips:

  • Tropical scent is my favorite. Always, always use sunscreen. Even when it is cloudy. Use at least SPF 30 UVA/UVB blocking sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours. Don’t forget SPF lip balm too!
  • Too hot to handle: Don’t get burned. Burning significantly raises your risk for skin cancer. Children’s skin is especially sensitive and vulnerable to sunburns. Reduce their risk and instill lifelong sun safety habits in children.
  • Stay shady. Between 10am and 4pm, the sun is the strongest; thankfully summer days are longer and you can enjoy the sun after it is at its peak.
  • California cool. Sun exposure is advised for a brief 15 minutes a day, afterwards cover up with a colorful top, wide brim hat and sunglasses.
  • Orange Glow. Avoid tanning booths. In California, there were too many tanning salons to count. Indoor tanning produces dangerous UV rays. One session can raise your melanoma cancer risk up to 20 percent. If you are under 35, your risk raises to 75 percent.

I now live hours from the beach and even further from the eternal summer in California, but I still enjoy being outdoors as much as possible. I make it a habit each spring to refresh myself on the dangers of skin cancer and best practices to prevent it. Share these tips with your friends, pop a bottle of sunscreen in your bag and brush up on your California lingo before hitting the beach.