Skin cancer prevention is a top priority for most people, especially those who have already experienced the devastating effects of this disease. But what can you do to protect yourself?
The best way to prevent skin cancer is by limiting your exposure to the sun and other sources of ultraviolet radiation. This includes the sun’s rays, tanning beds and even some types of lamps and fluorescent bulbs.
Here are some tips for preventing skin cancer:
- Limit your exposure to UV light. Avoid going out during peak sun hours, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
- Seek shade whenever possible, especially if you’re outside for an extended period of time or working in direct sunlight on a hot day.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every day — even during winter months or when it’s cloudy out — and reapply after being in the water or sweating heavily (this includes wearing waterproof makeup). If you’re going to be in the sun for more than 30 minutes at a time, use SPF 30 or higher and apply it generously. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts, look for products labeled as “noncomedogenic”.
- Wear protective clothing and sunscreen every day if you plan to be outside for an extended period of time or live in a sunny climate year-round. Make sure your clothes protect you from harmful UV rays that can burn through thin fabrics like cotton and linen — wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats when possible, especially during midday hours when UV rays are strongest.
- Don’t tan or burn in tanning beds or booths. Tanning beds expose users to ultraviolet radiation that has been shown to cause skin damage and cancer. Similarly, artificial tans don’t protect against skin damage caused by UV rays and may actually increase your risk of melanoma if they contain chemicals that can penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream where they can be harmful to your body’s cells.