Protecting your skin takes just a little planning and shopping before heading outdoors. Sun damaged skin increases your risk of skin cancer. Here are a few things you should know about protecting your skin from the sun.
1. USE SUNSCREENS WITH THE RIGHT SPF: To protect your skin against skin cancer and premature aging, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 15 minimum to 50 maximum. Physical sunscreen that contains natural minerals is recommended for people with sensitive skin.
2. WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Long sleeves and long pants will help protect your skin. You can also apply sunscreen beneath these clothing. Protect your scalp as well by wearing a hat or apply sunscreen to your hair parting.
3. AVOID THE MIDDAY SUN: The AAD recommends avoiding sun exposure from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. The sun rays are strongest between those hours so limit the time spent in the sun during these hours. Also skip the tanning salon as The World Health Organization has classified tanning beds as a Class 1 carcinogen, which is the highest cancer risk category.
4. USE UV-BLOCKING GLASS: If you drive very often, make sure you have tinted or laminated glass. This helps to limit the amount of UV rays that hit your skin.
Also use tinted sunglasses as often as possible when outside, this blocks some UV rays.
5. REAPPLY: Reapplying sunscreen ensures you are getting the original SPF desired. No sunscreen is completely waterproof so if you have been for a swim or sweating profusely, you will need to reapply immediately. Note that adding more sunscreen does not equal longer protection.
Melanoma is considered the most dangerous form of skin cancer and is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure. Melanoma kills an estimated 10,130 people in the US annually. If you notice anything on your skin changing differently from the rest, it is important to get it looked at early.