Protecting Yourself Against Skin Cancer

Cancer is certainly a scary word and there are many types that you can do nothing to prevent or avoid, unfortunately. Skin cancer, however, can be avoided in most cases with simple preventative measures. Check out the following ways you can keep yourself safe in the sunshine.

1. Stay in the shade. Although the sun’s rays can still reach you in the shade, it’s the safest place to hang out on a hot summer day. If you’re going to the beach, bring a large umbrella to shield you. On a picnic, look for large trees to dine under and never stay out in the water where you are completely exposed for long periods of time. It may seem like fun-deprivation, however; avoiding direct and prolonged exposure to the sun could save your life in the long run.

2. Wear movie star sunglasses. Big stylish shades that fully wrap around your face not only look really cool, they will provide your eyes end the skin around them with the best protection. Read the tag closely to make sure your new glasses will shield you from UVA and UVB rays; most sold in the U.S. do, but check to be certain. A good pair of sunglasses can also prevent cataracts and other eye problems.

3. Wrap-up in light clothing. Unfortunately, the most popular types of shirts have the lowest amount of sun protection. Whenever possible, wear long-sleeve shirts and full-length pants for complete protection against the sun’s rays. If it’s just too hot out, at least cover-up in some sort of beach wrap and note that wet clothing allows more sun to reach skin and darker colors are better than light colored clothing.

4. Invest in a large hat. There are a million styles of head-gear to choose from, and one or more is bound to look good on you. Look for a wide-brim that will shield your face from the sun and even extend to your neck, where skin is very sensitive to sun damage. Don’t be fooled by straw hats, as they let light through; opt for a tightly woven canvas that will provide you with the most protection.

5. Apply a good sunscreen. Always wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and reapply as needed, especially if you go swimming. All sunscreens are not created equal and ingredients will vary; if you have a reaction (rash, itching, etc.) to one particular brand, just try another. Watch for expiration dates and if you buy one without a date, don’t keep it around for more than two years.

6. Never use a tanning bed. Despite the quick and gorgeous glow they give you, more and more negative discoveries are being made about the use of indoor tanning beds. They have been directly linked to many cases of melanoma, the most common and dangerous type of skin cancer. Your eyes are also subject to danger from a tanning bed and could develop the deadly disease. That’s pretty scary stuff and certainly not worth the risk!

Especially when we are younger, we have the impression that we are impervious to disease or downright immortal, which can lead to serious health consequences later in life. Do what you can and be safe in the sun!

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