As summer approaches, school is already out and many of us are taking advantage of those longer days. In some areas, it’s already reaching the 90s while in others it’s merely in the 70s. Either way, kids and their parents are spending more time outside, and we need to think about skin cancer prevention.
While some sunshine is helpful to our bodies, too much is not a good thing. More than 90% of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure, and the American Cancer Society estimates that one million new cases will be diagnosed this year.
Dermatologists all agree that prevention is the best. Here are some precautions to take this summer to possibly prevent skin cancer in yourself or the ones you love. These recommendations are for adults and children. Babies 6 months and younger should never be in direct sunlight and should always wear a hat and protective clothing.
- Use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. Make sure it is water-resistant and reapply every two hours.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside so your skin has time to absorb it. The average person gives sunscreen less than 2 minutes to absorb.
- Be generous in application of sunscreen. An ounce of sunscreen should cover the face, neck, arms and legs of the average adult. More is better, no such thing as too much sunscreen.
- Avoid tanning beds at all cost/and try to be indoors when UV rays are at their worst between 10 and 4. It has been found that UVA may be even more harmful than UVB and that tanning beds are actually higher UVA than natural sunlight.
- Visit your dermatologists annually or more often if something is detected.
Natural sunlight provides our bodies with Vitamin D which is essential for optimal health. As we apply sunblock and limit our skin cancer risk, we also reduce our vitamin D. Therefore, it is wise to use a good quality vitamin D supplement (or better yet, a well-balanced multi-vitamin). It is somewhat of a catch-22: skin cancer prevention vs lacking vitamin D. Balance is the key. We know the sun causes premature aging, and the fact is too much also causes skin cancer.
Protect yourself with these simple steps because early detection is definitely the best skin cancer prevention you could have