According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is by far the most
common type of cancer in the U.S., with new cases diagnosed each year
outnumbering those of all other cancers combined. On the upside, there
is a lot you can do to
prevent skin cancer from affecting you and your loved ones.
Taking steps to prevent skin cancer isn’t complicated, but it requires
more than just applying sunscreen when you’re on vacation or spending
the day at the beach. Here are some tips to help you and your family prevent
skin cancer every day:
Limit sun exposure. Enjoying the outdoors is part of a healthy lifestyle, but try to do so
in a way that limits your exposure. Seek shade when you can, and if possible,
avoid long periods of exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,
when UV rays are strongest.
Use sunscreen—properly and frequently. The American Cancer Society recommends sunscreens with broad spectrum protection
(against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values
of 30 or higher. Use a shot glass size or palm-full amount of sunscreen,
and reapply at least every 2 hours—more often when you sweat or swim.
UV rays reach our skin all year round, even on cool and cloudy days, so
take precautions whenever your skin will be exposed. In addition, because
sunscreen works as a filter and does not screen out all UV rays, it’s
important to use other measures as well.
Cover up. Tightly knit clothing, hats and sunglasses are all key when it comes to
protecting your skin from the sun. You can also wear sun-protective clothing
with a UPF (UV protection factor, which ranges from 15 to 50+).
Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds cause skin damage and contribute to skin cancer. If you are
set on acquiring the “bronze glow” of a suntan, sunless tanning
lotions, salon spray tans and makeup bronzers are all harmless alternatives.
Protect children. Children tend to spend more time outside and to burn more easily than adults,
and therefore need special care. Applying sunscreen, seeking shade and
covering up should all become habits in your household, both for children
and for the adults who serve as their example.
While skin cancer is not 100% preventable, following these tips will go
a long way toward keeping you and your family safe in the sun.