7 Summer Skin Cancer Prevention Tips

We all look forward to summer. The picnics, beach, warm weather and time off from work are all promising yearly traditions. However, along with the extra strength of the sunshine comes a bit of danger, in the form of skin cancer.

Many people do not realize that skin cancer is the most common of all types of cancer. Each year in the U.S., the American Cancer Society estimates more than 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer; plus over 73,000 who get the most dangerous kind of skin cancer, known as melanoma. Of course, skin cancer is a danger year round, as UV rays do not go away in the winter, especially in heat of southern states like Louisiana. However, the summer months increase the odds of getting skin cancer and melanoma significantly.

Be “Sun” Sensible With These 7 Melanoma Prevention Strategies:

  • Always Use SPF 30+ Sunblock: It might sound obvious, but many people forget to apply sunscreen protection in the summer, especially when they are just going about their day. The sun’s rays don’t care if you are just walking to your car or hanging out for an hour at the park. Don’t forget to apply it to your face and all exposed areas of skin. SPF 30+ is sufficient enough to block 97% of UVB rays.
  • Check the Expiration Date: Another failed realization is that your sunscreen does expire! Check the expiration date, which is usually two to three years after the manufacturer’s date. Don’t buy sunscreen at the store that is due to expire in a few months and then think that it will give you the same protection next year. Pulling that old sunblock out of a drawer is not going to help you in the fight against skin cancer.
  • Make Sure You Choose Both UVA and UVB Ray Protection: Having adequate protection is important, so anything under SPF 30 is not strong enough. However, you should also verify that the SPF will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays, which is not usually found in cheaper brands.
  • Reapply Every Two Hours: Some people put their SPF skin protection on in the morning and think it will last all day. However, perspiration and the skin’s own absorption will make it necessary to reapply, especially if you are going to be outside for any prolonged duration or multiple times throughout the day.
  • Protect Your Eyes: Invest in UVA sunglasses (not the cheap ones at the Dollar Store) to ensure high quality protection for your eyes.
  • Wear a Hat: You can’t lather sunblock on your head, so many people think that their hair is enough to provide protection from the sun. It is recommended that you wear a hat, as the UV rays can also cause skin cancer and burn through your hair.
  • Avoid the Hottest Strength Times: Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. is when the sun is at its most potent and harmful phase, so seek shade or stay indoors during these hours, or keep your visits outside brief.

Even though skin cancer and melanoma is a daily risk, the “dog days” of summer do increase your risk of getting skin cancer significantly. Follow this advice and protect yourself from this unnecessary – and often deadly – type of cancer. As a final reminder, never use tanning beds or hot lamps to darken your skin color. If you searching for a tanned or bronze skin, you can opt for lotions and bronzers that offer a slightly higher tint. The point is to stay safe and enjoy your summer with these smart SPF reminders!