It's an outdoor concert weekend with Buckle Up Music Festival downtown and Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line playing at Great American Ball Park . Your camera, shorts and band t-shirt may be ready to face the music, but is your skin? Here are some tips for summer sun safety.
1. Wear sunscreen
It sounds obvious, doesn't it? But even though most other types of cancer rates are decreasing, melanoma diagnoses - the most dangerous form of skin cancer - have tripled since the 1970s, according to Environmental Working Group . Although there's no single reason for this, the 2 million-a-year discovery rate for skin cancer is largely attributed to overexposure to the sun. A broad-spectrum formula will protect your skin against long-reaching UVA and skin-reddening UVB rays. An SPF of at least 15 is generally recommended.
2. Concert-wear just got more complicated
Unless you're showing more skin than the average bear, a good portion of your sun protection comes from your clothing. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you cover your arms and legs and even wear a hat to make sure the back of your neck, scalp and tops of ears. But given this weekend's forecast , you may wish to opt for a tightly-woven, loose t-shirt instead. According to the American Skin Association , darker colors may afford more protection from UV rays by absorbing UV rays before they reach the skin, but be careful not to overheat!
3. Take another look at the bottle
Before you spray and smear, step away from that aerosol sunscreen. The FDA asked manufacturers back in 2011 to prove that spray sunscreens deposit an even, thick layer that will protect skin from UV, according to Environmental Working Group. Since the agency hasn't actively barred these products, many still remain on the shelves. And ladies: the FDA has also barred loose powders and makeup from claiming SPF protection, as users cannot tell whether they have applied enough to block the sun.
4. The eyes have it
Your eyes are also vulnerable to sun damage- skin cancer can creep in where you've missed applying sunscreen, cataracts and macular degeneration can all be blamed on over-exposure to UV rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends sunglasses that absorb or block UV and cover as much of the eye and surrounding skin as is comfortable. Wearing a hat with a 3-inch brim can also prevent rays from above.
5. Find your best shade
The best way to protect yourself from the sun is to stay out of it. The American Skin Association provides the following rule of thumb: "Short Shadow- Seek Shade." This refers to the angle of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are beaming down directly from above. When your shadow shortens, the sun's rays are also more intense and likely to cause sunburn.
6. Sorry, you're not done yet
Sorry kids, you still need to reapply once you're out and about. Although sunscreen lengthens the amount of time you can spend in the sun before burning, a high SPF doesn't make you invincible for an entire day of concert-going. The American Melanoma Foundation says to read the directions and reapply at least as often as directed, as well as after any activity that could rub off that layer of sun protection.