10 Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer
Summer is quickly approaching, and that typically means more people will spend time out in the sun. For me and my family, that means we will be camping and motorcycling more frequently. With skin cancer on the rise, it is important to protect yourself from damaging sun rays. Here are 10 ways to help prevent skin cancer not only during the summer, but all year long.
10 Tips to Prevent Skin Cancer
- Apply Sunscreen—Make sure it is UVA/UVB approved with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you plan to go in the sun. If you plan to be in the water or doing physical activity where you will be sweating, consider applying a water-resistant sunscreen. For extended periods of time in the sun, don't forget to reapply.
- Seek Shade—There are many ways to stay out of the sun including sitting under a tree,using an umbrella, or setting up a canopy. My family took this fun Quick Shade Go backpack canopy to the sand dunes this past weekend, and we were able to create shade in the middle of the dessert. We love to ride motorcycles, and without sun protection we wouldn't be able to enjoy our day.
- Understand the Clouds—Over 80% of the sun's rays can penetrate through the clouds. Some of our family's worst sunburns occurred when we didn't think we were getting any sun. Now I know how important it is to wear sunscreen all the time, even if it's cloudy.
- Use Protective Clothing—Some colors of clothing can help protect you from the sun. If you know you are going to be in the sun, refrain from wearing light colors. Dark colors attract more heat than harmful light rays. If you wear white, make sure you have sunscreen under your clothes.
- Avoid Tanning Beds—UVA radiant bulbs can burn you 2-5 times faster than the natural sun. UVA rays can cause burns and skin cancer.
- Protect Your Eyes—The sun can damage cells on your eyelids. Make sure you apply sunscreen to these sensitive areas and wear glasses that wrap around 100% of the eye.
- Spot Check Moles and Freckles—Examine your moles and freckles monthly. If you see any changes in color or size, go to your dermatologist to have them checked.
- Wear a Hat—A hat will not only protect the top of your head but also your eyes, ears, and neck. This is a great way to avoid getting too much sun on those areas.
- Notice Reflective Surfaces—Water, sand, and snow reflect 80% of the sun's harmful rays. Direct rays come from above, but reflected rays can come at you from any direction. If you plan to be in areas that have these surfaces, take precaution with a sunscreen that has a high SPF.
- Beware of Sun Sensitive Medications—If you are taking a prescription or an antibiotic that will increase your sensitivity to the sun, make sure you protect yourself. Limit your sun exposure or use extra protection while you are taking these items.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. More than one million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year, and 10,000 deaths will occur. But skin cancer can be avoided by following these simple steps. Take care of your skin all year long and protect yourself from the harmful affects of the sun.
What things are you doing to protect yourself and your family from getting skin cancer?
Featured image courtesy of flickr
Jill Greenlaw has a banking background. She gave that up 18 years ago when she got married and started having kids. She loved being a stay-at-home mom while raising her four beautiful children. Jill is now working for the Mom It Forward team as a Sales Manager. She loves her job. Her interests include camping, motorcycling, boating, photography, reading, cooking, and traveling. Put her in flip flops anywhere warm and she is happy.