The sun doesn't go away when summer ends, and neither do the risks.
Luckily, there are many things that you can do to protect yourself and lessen your chance of developing this type of cancer. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to UV rays. UV rays can come from the sun or from tanning beds.
WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants or skirts to have more protection from the sun. If wearing that type of clothing isn't possible, wear as much as you can tolerate.
Different types of clothing offer different levels of protection. The tighter the fabric weave, the more protection if offers.
** Wet clothing has much less UV protection that dry clothing.
An easy way that your can lessen your risk from sun exposure, is by spending time in the shade. It only lessens your risk and does not protect you completely because the UV rays can still be reflected from other surfaces.
A wide brimmed hat offers the best hat protection. It will cover your face and also your ears and neck. Just like with clothing, the tighter the weave, the better the protection.
If that type of hat is not an option, a baseball cap will still offer some protection for your face. Be aware to add more sunscreen to uncovered areas like your neck and ears.
Sunglasses offer very important UV protection for your eyes and reduces your risk of developing cataracts in the future. Cataract risk is especially high for people with light colored eyes. Sunglasses also protect the delicate skin around your eyes.
Almost all sunglasses sold in the US - even the ones you can get at the Dollar Store - offer full UVA and UVB protection.
It is very well known that sunscreen is extremely important to protecting yourself from the sun. Use a product with UVA and UVB protection.
A few important points:
- Apply before you go outside - sunscreen takes a while to be fully effective. Apply 20 Minutes before going outside
- No sunscreen is completely waterproof - reapply after swimming, heavily sweating or toweling off
- Use by the expiration date - however, sunscreen exposed to high temperatures can lose it's effectiveness before it's expiration date
- Cosmetics are not sunscreen - some products have sunscreen added, but regular make-up does not offer any sun protection
- Use an minimum of SPF 15 - higher than SPF 15 would be even better
There is no such thing as a safe tan! Tanned skin is damaged skin. This also applies to indoor tanning/tanning beds.
A few busted myths about tanning:
- A "base tan" does not offer any sun protection
- A self-tanner tan does not offer any sun protection
- A tanning bed tan is not safe or safer than the sun