17 Jun Tips for Staying Clear from Dangers of Skin Cancer This Summer
It’s a struggle many men and women deal with on a daily basis: “How can I look my best without doing anything harmful to my body?” Of course, that’s a valid question with any crazy diet or fad supplement, but today we’re talking about damage that you can do to your skin that could ultimately lead to skin cancer. That’s right: sun exposure and tanning. Let’s shed some light on how to protect yourself from harmful elements, help prevent skin cancer, and still have a summer glow without hurting your skin.
It’s no secret that too much exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays is the biggest contributor to skin cancer. Hiding inside all day every day clearly isn’t the answer, but hiding inside at certain times of day could be. The suns UV rays are much stronger between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is the highest in the sky. Try to avoid extended periods of direct exposure during that time, and try to plan outdoor activities that aren’t in direct sunlight during those hours. Unless you’re nocturnal, it’s obvious that many events are going to take place during the day, so creating shaded areas that can be used for cover are a great idea.
Don’t Get Burned
The next key in preventing skin cancer is avoid burning. Easier said than done, right? You head out for a walk on the first really warm day of the year, forgetting to lather up on sunscreen, and that evening you realize that your porcelain skin has a new tomato hue to it. No biggie, right? Well, maybe not. It has been shown that every burn you get increases your risk of melanoma (skin cancer). In fact, more than five or more burns in your life doubles your risk of skin cancer. That is why it is important for your skin health that you are always being precautionary and wearing sunscreen. That doesn’t mean using sunscreen just when it’s a nice day outside and you fear a burn. The truth is that even on those days when it’s the middle of the winter or the sky is overcast, you still need to lather your skin with SPF 15 or higher. The sun’s harmful rays are there year-round. They can bounce off of snow and increase your exposure in the winter. Even on overcast days, you still get as much as 80 percent of the UV rays that you would on a sunny day. It is also a good idea to cover yourself when possible. Obviously the heat of the summer is not a time you probably want to wear full sleeves and pants, but wearing hats, lightweight cover-ups, and UV-protection sunglasses is a great step in the right direction.
Step Away From the Tanning Bed
Now that you have your sunscreen on every day, the next step in cancer prevention is to stay far away from any tanning bed. We know that tanning beds are bad for skin and increase the risk of skin cancer, but some people are still devoted to tanning. Some tanning bed shops even try and sell you on the fact that their beds only use a certain kind of ray that isn’t as harmful as the sun and that Vitamin D is really good for you. Don’t listen to them. Tanning bed sunlamps can actually be much more harmful than the sun, emitting rays with 12 times the UV as from the sun. And Vitamin D is good for you, but you can also consume Vitamin D in foods like milk or salmon or in multivitamins and supplements. What you can take advantage of at that tanning salon is a non-UV ray spray tan. There’s always the chance that a spray tan could lead to orange, Oompa Loompa skin, but the key is to find a good place that does spray tanning right. Spray tanning may cost a little more money, but it’s way better than risking skin damage and skin cancer.
Now that you’re taking precautions to decrease your risk of skin cancer, how do you monitor your skin to make sure you aren’t at risk? The important thin is to check your body each month for new moles, any change in coloration of existing moles, or sores on your skin. If at any point you think you have something to be worry about, contact your dermatologist and have them do a checkup. Detecting skin cancer early increases your chances of successful treatment.