Summer has finally arrived! Because this summer looks a little different than those of the past, you might find yourself outdoors now more than ever before. Enjoying the outdoors can do wonders for the mind and body, but only if done safely. Melanoma still reigns as one of the most common cancers in the U.S., and more than 5 sunburns before the age of 20 increases lifetime melanoma risk by 80%! Fortunately, most melanoma is preventable. Enjoy the following tips from Pittsburgh Skin founder and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Nicole Vélez, in order to ensure that you and the ones you love are safe this summer.

Apply Product 15 Minutes Before Sun Exposure

It’s often tempting to rush to apply sunscreen directly before, or even during, outdoor activities with friends and family. However, applying sunscreen directly before engaging with water or any sweat-inducing activity is risky – if you don’t allow your sunscreen to dry before submerging, you risk washing away your efforts! We recommend that you apply sun protectants about 15 minutes before sun exposure and before enjoying water or adrenaline-based activities.

Use a Minimum of SPF 30

Dr. Vélez recommends that you use a sunscreen of at least SPF 30, reapplying every 2 hours, in order to prevent melanoma and keep your skin looking its best. Is SPF 70 better than SPF 30? The answer is yes. The higher the better. Just be sure that you don’t use anything below SPF 30 in order to remain protected.

Use the “Shot Glass Rule” for Application

Did you know that only 20-50% of people actually receive the SPF protection listed on their sunscreen bottles? We often don’t apply the correct amount of sunscreen, meaning that even if you’re applying SPF 30 per Dr. Vélez’s recommendation, you won’t be receiving the full benefit if you aren’t using the correct amount of product.

The next time you venture outdoors, use the “shot glass rule” of application. This recommendation comes from the FDA and states that the average person should apply a shot glass worth of sunscreen every 2 hours in order to be properly protected from dangerous UV rays on hot summer days. While this rule isn’t foolproof as the size of your “shot glass” may vary slightly depending on body size and propensity to burn, it is a great rule of thumb to help guide application. If you and your family are outside all day, you really should use up the entire bottle of sunscreen in the day to ensure proper protection.

Pay Attention to Expiration Dates

While it may be tempting to just pull last year’s sunscreen out from your medicine cabinet, be cautious of expiration dates. Sunscreens do become less effective with time, so if yours is past its prime, it’s time to replace it.

Shop Sunscreens at Pittsburgh Skin

Need to stock up on sun products? We now sell sunscreens on our website! We offer a wide variety great for everyday use under makeup or for full body application during summer recreation. Pick up in our office or ship directly to your home. Check it out here!