Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are the main cause of skin cancer.
UV damage can also cause wrinkles and blotchy skin.
How can you protect yourself?
Protecting yourself is easy.
1. Always use sunscreen when outside, even on cloudy or colder days.
Also, be sure to use sunscreen that's at least SPF 15 or higher and that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Remember, if you are going to be in the sun for more than 20 minutes you need to use sunscreen. Also, sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 30 minutes prior to going outside, and don't forget to reapply. The general rule is about every two hours.
2. Limit your amount of time in the sun.
Sunlight is good for us. It gives us a Vitamin D fix naturally and often makes us feel good. But, too much of one thing is not a good idea in most cases and certainly so for the sun.
You don't want to spend all day baking in the sun, so do your skin a favor and give it a rest by taking breaks to go inside or sit in the shade instead.
How can you protect others?
Protecting loved ones from sun-related diseases like skin cancer is as simple as encouraging them to adopt healthy sun habits.
Talk to your family about the importance of sun safety and make sure to always have plenty of sunscreen around.
Awareness leads to action
Protecting ourselves from the sun is easier said than done. Down deep we all know we should wear sunscreen and limit our sun exposure, but often we forget or think a few minutes without it won't hurt. Well, over the course of time, those few minutes add up and can increase our risk of skin cancer, and no matter how confident we feel with tanned skin, the damage from the sun is not worth the risk.
This month, and every month, take a few extra moments before you go outside to protect yourself. Your skin will thank you later.
For information on protecting yourself from the sun, check this article in Medical Daily.