Each year, National Don’t Fry Day takes place on the Friday before Memorial Day to raise awareness of the risks of excessive sun exposure and skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and is also one of the most preventable cancers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With summer just around the corner, your risk of developing skin cancer becomes even higher. While it may be tempting to spend more hours out in the sun, be sure to take necessary measures to protect yourself from harmful rays.
Here are five ways you can protect your skin from the sun this summer.
The sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you like being outdoors during those hours, find a place out of the sun, like beneath a tree or even a beach umbrella to protect yourself from the direct sunlight.
Find clothing that covers up the most sensitive skin areas, like your chest and shoulders. Be sure to include lightweight long sleeved shirts, wide brimmed hats, and sunglasses in your summer wardrobe.
Apply sunscreen of an SPF of 15 or higher every day, even if you aren’t going outside often. For days with prolonged outdoor activity, use an SPF of 30 or higher and re-apply every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. Don’t forget important areas like the backs of your hands and tops of your feet, and wear lip balm that has an SPF as well.
Indoor tanning can be just as dangerous as tanning in the sun. Tanning beds expose your skin to ultraviolet light that can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. Additionally, people who go to tanning beds at a younger age have a higher chance of developing melanoma.
If your summer goal is to look tan, consider safer alternatives like self-tanning products or spray tans.
Once a month, perform a head-to-toe self-examination of your skin to look for any changes.
By doing this regularly, you will be able to familiarize yourself with what is and is not normal for your skin, and track any marks of concern. Follow the Skin Cancer Foundation’s step-by-step instructions to examine your skin, and call your doctor if you have questions.