The sun may provide necessary light and energy here on Earth, but it can also pose some dangers. Approximately 4.3 million Americans are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (the most common form of skin cancer) each year. Because skin cancer development is typically linked to sun exposure, it’s essential to protect yourself in order to reduce your risk. You may think that you’re doing enough to protect your skin, but the following tips might show you that there’s a lot more you could try.
Wear Sunscreen and Protective Gear
Any skin doctor worth their salt will recommend their patients wear sunscreen regularly. That means you need to wear it even when you’re not planning on spending a lot of time outdoors.According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, you should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day, but the SPF should be increased to at least 30 (and be water-resistant) on days where you’ll be outside. Make sure you’re actually applying the sunscreen correctly, as well. You should apply two tablespoons of sunscreen to your body 30 minutes prior to heading outside. Remember to reapply after two hours or so!
Sunscreen is a good start, but it’s not the pinnacle of protection. In addition to sunblock, make sure to wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays, a hat, and clothing that covers your arms and legs. You might feel like you’re going overboard, but this is the best way to protect your skin from damage. Follow this method no matter the season or the weather; even if it’s a cloudy day or it’s in the middle of winter, your skin can still be hurt by the sun!
Stay in the Shade
Along with protective clothing and sunblock, you should also make an effort to stay out of the sun as much as possible. During the hours of 11 am to 4 pm (when the sun’s rays are typically the strongest), you should seek out shade or remain indoors. A good way to tell it’s time to get out of the sun is when your shadow is actually shorter than you are. If your skin is starting to take on a pinkish hue or feels sensitive to the touch, you should seek shelter right away.
Assess Your Skin
It’s a good idea to examine your skin regularly to discern whether there are any abnormalities. Conducting a head-to-toe self examination every month can allow you to catch the signs of skin cancer early on. You should also take action if you experience itching, bleeding, or any physical changes to your sin. Whether or not you notice anything out of the ordinary, you should contact your skin doctor at least once a year for a professional exam. This is especially important for those with fair features, those who have sustained sun damage in the past, and those who have a family history of cancer.
Dermatology specialists are excellent resources for everything related to skin health. To find out more about how our skin doctors can improve and maintain the health of your skin, please contact us today.