Sun Safety with Priority Health

As much as I love summer, last years was sorta rough. For the first half I was pregnant and then for the second half I had a newborn. Don’t get me wrong, a summer baby and more specifically a summer maternity leave was great, we just didn’t get out and about as much as we’re used to – so we’re making up for it this summer!

I don’t know about you but one of the biggest sources of anxiety for me in the summer is making sure my kids don’t get a sunburn. Their sweet little skin is so sensitive but at the same time it’s nearly impossible to get a kid to sit still to apply sunscreen. And once you’ve finally wrestled them to get it on how do you know if you’ve applied enough and how quickly it will wear off?! I’m literally exhausted just thinking about it.

This summer we were given the opportunity to try out these really amazing sunscreen and sunburn alert stickers from Priority Health. They change color when it’s time to reapply sunscreen – how neat is that?! After just a couple uses it became clear that while I had the best of intentions my sunscreen application skills could use a little work.

Many people (me included!) apply sunscreen as they would hand cream – lightly and rub in. It actually needs to be applied liberally and absorbed by the skin. In fact, the AAD and recommend adults apply 1 oz (the equivalent of a shot glass and I think we all know how much that is) for a full body application.

Here are a few more sun safety tips I thought were really interesting!

  • Experts say as long as you’re using at least SPF 30 and reapplying about every two hours, you will be protected. The difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 and higher is actually very minimal.
  • You are still at risk for sunburn in the shade or on cloudy days. UV rays reflect off of surfaces like sand, water and even grass.
  • You can’t see or feel UV rays, so even if it’s cooler outside, you are still at risk for a sunburn.
  • Any skin type and ethnicity is at risk for sunburn and skin cancer, especially over prolonged periods of time.
  • Experts estimate that going out in the sun with a “base tan” is equivalent to wearing a sunscreen with a SPF of 3 to 4 – essentially not protective at all.
  • Sunscreen isn’t always effective all of the time. To be truly protected, you should put on sunscreen 30 minutes prior to being in the sun to allow it to soak into the skin. Then, reapply one ounce of sunscreen every two hours. It’s also important to take other protective measures, such as wearing a wide-brimmed hat, UV sunglasses and tightly-woven clothing in dark colors.
  • Over 5 million cases of skin cancer are treated in the U.S. every year.
  • 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanomas are directly associated with repeated exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

You can click here to find a full list of local events where Priority Health will be giving away sunscreen and sunburn alert stickers that change color when it’s time to reapply sunscreen so you can try (and learn!) for yourself. If you can’t make it to an event you can still participate! Priority Health has executed a social media challenge encouraging people to share pictures of themselves making smart sun decisions (i.e. wearing sunscreen or a wide-brimmed hat) using a the hashtag #PriorityHealthSunSmart. For every selfie posted with the hashtag, Priority Health will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society of Michigan (up to $10,000 in total) to support cancer research, including initiatives specific to skin cancer.