It’s late in the 3rd quarter on a Saturday afternoon game and you have been sitting in direct sunlight for hours and you forgot your sunscreen (because it’s fall). You are doing fall leaf clean-up for 45 minutes and your face is feeling hot. You are getting that one last barbecue in and you have forgotten your hat. You are driving through the country and enjoying the change in colors with the top down. You are walking for your favorite charity and you realize that you are getting sun even on a cloudy day. You know the story. It is autumn!
It’s tempting, isn’t it? It’s easy to slack off because the weather is cooler. Maybe you are wearing long sleeves and maybe you think that the sun’s rays are only dangerous when it is hot. Here is my experience. I have gotten some of my worst burns in the autumn months because I simply did not equate sun exposure with cooler temperatures. After it’s cloudy and windy and cooler, what is there to worry about?
Don’t let your guard down as the temperatures go down
The sun is no respecter of seasons. While the rays may not be as direct as summer rays, they can still have an effect. It is easier to remember to lather up in high SPF sunscreen and protect yourself when you are planning a beach outing, but a trip to Nantucket in October? The same rules apply. Diligence and vigilance equals regular checkups, sunscreen, protective clothing, and sun smarts.
Here are some sun smart tips for the autumn season:
- Apply sunscreen every day, rain or shine.
- Keep sunscreen in your car. You never know when you will need it.
- Bring sunscreen to games. Apply it on yourself and offer to others.
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your face, ears and all exposed areas. Wearing a jacket may make you feel safe against the sun, but unless you are wearing a complete body suit, you will be exposed in some way (and the sun’s rays can penetrate clothing as well).
- Check for odd looking moles in the fall after a long, hot summer.
- Dermatologists have office hours in autumn, go see one.
- Fall is a time to get back into routines. Develop and follow a safe skin routine that will become a habit all year long.
- Be an advocate for smart sun behavior. There are many walk-a-thons, banquets, and other charitable events that support cancer research and support during the autumn months. This is an ideal time to volunteer and let your voice be heard. People will hear you and maybe you will save a life.
- Protect your children. Depending on local laws, schools may not offer sunscreen for children. Children spend time outside in the fall as they have fun in the playground and engage in sports. Keep that in mind, especially in the southern part of our country.
- Relax and enjoy this great time of year.