While the sun can be an excellent source of vitamin D, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Overexposure to UV rays doesn’t just cause sunburn and early wrinkles. Too much sun can also lead to skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US. But skin cancer is mostly preventable when people take the proper precautions. Consider these 5 tips for staying safe in the sun.
Experts recommend using a sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days and in the winter. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. On days spent outdoors, opt for a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and reapply every 2 hours.
2. Be sure to use enough
One of the biggest mistakes people make with sunscreen is not using enough. To cover the entire body, use 2 tablespoons, or 1 ounce. Also, choose water-resistant sunscreen, even if not swimming or near the water. Sweating can decrease sunscreen benefits if the product is not water-resistant.
3. Seek shade
When spending time outdoors, try to avoid sitting in the direct sun. Instead, seek shady areas. This is especially true during the parts of the day when the sun is highest and most intense, between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Also, be aware that snow and water can reflect the sun, making the effects of the UV rays more intense.
4. Be intentional
While tanning may be a popular activity for teenagers, the activity leads to early aging and a significantly increased risk for skin cancer. Avoid tanning in the natural sun and never use tanning beds. Instead, opt for a spray tan or tanning lotion.
5. Do a skin check
For excellent skin health and cancer prevention, perform a full-body skin check once a month. Look for any new moles, rashes, or skin growths. Anything changing or new warrants a trip to the dermatologist. Regardless of whether there are any skin changes, visit a dermatologist for a full skin exam at least once a year.
Know your ABCs
Knowing the ABCs is a simple trick for spotting melanoma. When examining moles or skin growths, look for asymmetry, uneven borders, changing colors, larger diameters, and any growth that is evolving. Any of these signs mean a trip to the dermatologist is necessary. For more information about skin cancer prevention, speak with a healthcare provider.