This is a real risk, and you should take it seriously, but there's also no need to panic. With a little sensible thinking (and a couple bottles of sunscreen) you can minimize your risk of developing skin cancer.
Follow these 7 tips to help protect your skin from the sun's UV rays and enjoy spending time outside this summer!
1. Head inside at midday
You body soaks up UV rays all day and year-round, but the sun's rays are strongest - and the most damaging to your skin - between 10am and 4pm. Try to plan your day so you'll be inside during those hours.
2. Check your skin regularly
Dermatologists say you should give yourself a thorough look-over once a month, from head to toe. You're looking for any growths, bumps, moles, or freckles that are different from the last time you checked.
3. Check your prescriptions
You might not know this, but some prescription medicines can make your skin very sensitive to the sun. Talk to your doctor if you find you're tanning or burning more easily after taking a new medicine.
4. Wear sunscreen all the time
We all bring suncreen to the beach, but for best results you should actually be wearing it all day, every day, even when it's not warm outside. If you don't want to be too cautious, just rub a little on your face daily during the summer.
If you're worried about developing cancer you should also learn whether your age puts you at risk.
To cover all your bases, be sure the learn the warning signs of one of the most common types of cancer.
5. Cover up
It's best to wear a wide-brimmed hat and some light clothing that covers your whole body if you'll be in the sun for an extended period. Don't bother spending more on clothes with "UV blocking" features. Just hold your clothes up to a light. Anything that doesn't let much shine through is protective.
6. Get the right sunscreen
For daily use you should use a sunscreen with at least 15 SPF. If you're going to be active, in the water or out for a long time, upgrade to 30 SPF and reapply it every few hours.
7. Be sensible
You can develop skin cancer from everyday activities, but certain behaviors make you much more prone. Avoid tanning beds and getting sunburned if you can avoid it. Remember: a nice tan isn't worth ruining your health!
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