We’re all eager to get outdoors as the weather gets warmer. From playing baseball, going for a jog or fishing with your buddies, your outdoor activities give you your place in the sun—but make sure you are lathered with sunscreen before spending hours in the sun.
The warmth of the sun may feel nice on your skin, but the longer the rays beat down on you, your skin is being damaged.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun reach the skin’s inner layer of skin, the skin makes more melanin—or skin pigment—making the outer layer tan or red. These color changes are a response to injury, not an indication of good health. Exposure over time could lead to skin cancer.
There are approximately 3.5 million skin cancer cases with 2.2 million people diagnosed with a form of skin cancer each year. Skin cancer is easy to cure if diagnosed and treated early. The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. However, the most serious type of skin cancer, is Melanoma.
Reduce Your Skin Cancer Risk
You can help protect yourself and your family by following these 8 rules:
- DON'T let your skin burn
Your risk for melanoma doubles if you have five or more sunburns at any point in your life.
- DON'T use tanning booths
Tanning is never safe. Even occasional tanning bed use triples your risk for melanoma.
- DO use clothing to shield your skin
Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Clothing can be your most effective form of sun protection.
- DON'T use the wrong sunscreen
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.
- DO find some shade
When the sun is strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., stay in the shade. Make sure you choose early mornings and late afternoons to take part in your favorite outdoor activity.
- DO look for early signs
Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a dermatologist immediately.
- DO consider genetic risk factors
Those with fair skin, red or blond hair, a family history, or green or blue eyes are at a higher risk, but no one is immune to developing skin cancer.
- DON'T put it off
See your dermatologist every year for a professional skin exam.