Getting outside and enjoying nice weather can be a lot of fun and can be a great way to spend time with your family and get some exercise. However, being out in the sun for extended periods of time can also increase your risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and can affect virtually anyone, regardless of gender, skin color or geographic location. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can protect yourself from the sun so that you can enjoy the outdoors safely.
Top 5 Skin Cancer Prevention Tips:
- Wear sunscreen
- Stay in the shade
- Wear protective clothing
- Avoid tanning beds
- Get regular check-ups at the doctor
Regularly applying sunscreen is one of the best ways you can protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. Make sure that the sunscreen you choose offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. For typical days, your sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 15. If you know you are going to be outside for an extended period or that you will be especially physically active, choose one with SPF 30 or higher, preferably a waterproof or sweat-proof version. Reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours for the best results.
- Protect your skin
- Use UVA and UVB protection
- Reapply every two hours
Stay in the Shade
Whenever possible, try to spend time in the shade rather than in direct sunlight. This is particularly important between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is because the sun’s rays are the strongest during those hours and have the greatest potential for damaging your skin. When you are in the shade, you can enjoy being outside for much longer than you could in direct sunlight. If you absolutely must be out in the sun, try to take periodic breaks in the shade to give your skin a rest and allow yourself to cool off.
- Avoid direct sunlight
- Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Avoid the strongest rays
Wear Protective Clothing
Aside from wearing sunscreen, covering your skin with protective clothing is the next best thing. Wear long sleeves and pants in light, reflective colors, like white, to keep yourself from getting too hot while still keeping your skin covered up. Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face and ears, and wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes. Try to find glasses that wrap around the sides as well for maximum eye protection.
- Wear long sleeves and pants to cover your skin
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and ears
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
Avoid Tanning Beds
Lying in tanning beds is one of the worst things you can do to your skin. The UV rays are highly concentrated, making them even more damaging in just a short space of time. Tanning naturally in the sun is hard on your skin as well, but nothing can compare to the damaging effects of tanning beds. If you really want the look of a tan, use self-tanning sprays or lotions instead.
- Avoid tanning beds whenever possible
- UV rays are more concentrated, resulting in greater damage
- Natural tanning is nearly as bad for your skin
Get Regular Check-Ups at the Doctor
Each time you visit your doctor, have him or her examine any moles or discolored spots on your skin. While this may not prevent skin cancer by itself, it will be much easier to treat any potentially cancerous areas when they are caught early on before the cancer has a chance to spread. Each check-up you go to should include time to check your skin. You should keep an eye on any worrisome areas yourself as well so that you’ll notice right away if anything changes, which could be a potential sign of skin cancer.
- Have your doctor check your moles
- Early detection is key to successful treatment
- Stop skin cancer before it spreads
While some people are more genetically predisposed to certain types of cancer than others, the prevention tips listed here give you the best chance of lowering your risk of skin cancer. Even though they may not be 100-percent effective at preventing skin cancer, they’ll give you your best chance of living cancer-free. The better care you take of your skin, the better condition it will be in throughout your life.