Summertime is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and soak up the sun. However, the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays can make spending excessive amounts of time outdoors risky, making it important to take precautions against skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Australia, with over 1,600 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year. Excessive exposure to UV radiation can damage the DNA in your skin cells, leading to skin cancer. If you’re worried about your risk of developing skin cancer, it’s best to visit your local skin cancer doctor. This article will go over some strategies you can use to arm yourself against skin cancer this summer.
Wear Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or Higher
Selecting a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is one of the best ways you can arm yourself against skin cancer. Sunscreen protects against skin cancer by absorbing, reflecting or scattering the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, not all sunscreens are made equally. It’s important to choose a water-resistant sunscreen and opt for a sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection.
You should never underestimate the weather, either. Even on cloudy days, the UV index can still be high, so it’s important to apply sunscreen even when it’s overcast. You will also need to take your skin type and tone into account, as the most effective sunscreen for combating skin cancer may vary depending on a person’s individual skin type and needs. If you’re not sure which sunscreen is best for your skin, consult with your local skin cancer doctor.
When outdoors, it’s important to seek shade even if you’re wearing sunscreen. Between the hours of 10am and 4pm, the sun’s rays are at their strongest. So while you may be tempted to spend time out in the sun during these active times, it’s important you do so mindfully and with access to some kind of shaded area. Seeking shade is a preventative measure against skin cancer because it minimises exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Combining the use of sunscreen with seeking shade can go a long way to minimising your risk of developing skin cancer.
Wear Protective Clothing
Wearing protective clothing during summer is also important. While it may seem counterintuitive to wear long sleeves or pants when the temperature is high, covering up can greatly reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Protective clothing can help protect you from skin cancer in two ways:
- Covering up your skin reduces your exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
- Some types of protective clothing, such as shirts and hats with built-in UPF (ultraviolet protection factor), can actually block out UV rays, providing an extra layer of protection.
Clothes such as long-sleeved shirts, pants and wide-brimmed hats are all great protective clothing options for arming yourself against skin cancer.
Get Regular Skin Checks
If you notice anything abnormal on your skin, such as a new mole or a noticeable change in an existing mole, you should make an appointment to see a skin cancer doctor as soon as possible. Early detection is key to the successful treatment of skin cancer. Regular skin cancer checks can help protect you against skin cancer by allowing your doctor to monitor your skin for changes and to catch any potential problems early.