Summer is here and many of us are spending more time outdoors enjoying the nicer weather. While basking in the sun’s golden rays can feel great, it is important to be diligent about sun safety. Most skin cancers are a result of exposure to the ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) in sunlight. In the past 25 years, there has been a significant increase in melanoma diagnoses. The good news is you can minimize your chances of developing skin cancer by taking precautions.
Skin cancer and sunlight exposure precautions:
- Limit the time you spend in the sun. If possible, avoid being in the sun altogether during the middle of the day (between 11 a.m. and at least 3 p.m.).
- Cover up. Wear a hat, sunglasses and clothing designed to protect you from sunlight. Staying in the shade and covering up are more effective than sunscreen for reducing cancer risk. It is important to cover up and apply sunscreen even when the temperature is low. Even if the sun isn’t out in full force or there’s a cooling breeze, you can still suffer sunburn and skin damage!
- Use a good quality sunscreen. A water-resistant, broad-spectrum coverage sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 is recommended and should be and reapplied frequently throughout the day.
- Be careful when near water, sand, or snow. The sun’s rays reflect and can be harmful.
Keep yourself safe to reduce your cancer risk while enjoying the great outdoors and all it has to offer.
Source: McMaster Optimal Aging Portal