Although the sun’s powerful ultraviolet rays are responsible for its harmful effects, including skin cancer, there are thankfully plenty of ways for you to take action and protect yourself from excessive sun exposure.
8 Simple Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Skin Cancer
- Stay indoors where possible to avoid unnecessary sun exposure, especially during peak hours between 10 am and 4 pm.
- If you have to go outside, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends use of broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 (preferably at least 30), even on cloudy days, for adequate protection. The higher the SPF, the greater protection from sunburn, caused mostly by UVB rays. “Broad spectrum” sunscreen products protect against UVA and UVB rays.
- Wear lip balm of SPF 15 or higher.
- Seek the shade where possible outdoors, especially between 10 am and 4 pm. (Tip – If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are strongest).
- When in the sun, wear clothing to protect as much of your skin as possible. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants made of tightly woven fabric are most useful, and dark-colored clothing provides more protection than light-colored items. Avoid fabrics that you can see light through. A wide-brimmed hat is also especially helpful to protect the face, neck, and ears. Special clothes with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) can also guard against sun exposure.
- Don’t forget eye protection. Ideal sunglasses do not need to be expensive. They simply need to be able to block both UVA and UVB rays. If the label states either “UV absorption up to 400nm” or “meets ANSI UV requirements”, then the glasses block at least 99% of UV rays.
- Add UV-protective film to the windows of your home and car (this allows in up to 80% of visible light, while blocking 99.9% of UV radiation).
- Avoid tanning salons. (The American Academy of Dermatology opposes indoor tanning.)
So while we should all be able to enjoy the sunshine, it’s equally important to protect our skin from its harmful effects. It’s impossible to completely avoid sunlight (and nor should we want to!), but by following a few simple guidelines, you will be able to work and play outdoors while protecting your skin from the damaging effects of UV rays.