During your summer fun in the sun, it can be difficult to remember about protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Unprotected skin can receive damage from the sun in as little as 15 minutes. However, the skin may not show all the signs of sun damage until 12 hours after exposure.
Many people mistakenly think that an overcast day will protect your skin against sun damage, but UV rays still find their way through the clouds. May is skin cancer awareness month, so now is the perfect time to learn sun safety tips for your own protection as well as that of your children.
Skin Cancer Risk Factors
While anyone can get skin cancer, you are at a higher risk if you:
- Have certain physical features like green or blue eyes, light blond or red hair, or a lighter natural skin tone.
- Have a family history of melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
- Expose yourself to the sun throughout the day for work or play.
- Experienced sunburns early in life.
Even if you have a higher risk for skin cancer, you can execute useful skin protection methods like:
- Seeking shade, especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm when UV rays are the strongest.
- Wearing sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. It should protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Covering up with clothing to protect sensitive parts of your body. A hat is useful to protect your scalp and face.
- Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Avoiding tanning beds. The UV rays these expose you to are as dangerous as the sun’s rays and will not provide you with skin cancer protection.
It is quite ironic that tanned skin is so fashionable today because darkening your skin by spending time outside results in damaged skin that can lead to the development of skin cancer. There are three common types of skin cancer, which are basal cell, squamous cell carcinomas, and melanoma. The first two are quite curable, but the third is much more dangerous.
Skin protection today is essential to prevent skin cancer from developing. Your skin doesn’t forget that nasty sunburn from last summer even if you go a whole winter with hardly any sun exposure. The damage to skin cells accumulates through the years, which is why you should implement sun safety tips without hesitation this summer. Sunscreen might be smelly, and you might want that golden tan despite your naturally fair skin, but your efforts will be worth it years from now when you are still free of skin cancer. Visit your local CareNow healthcare provider for even more tips on staying safe in the sun.