According to Cancer.org, nearly 3.3 million Americans are diagnosed with basal or squamous skin cancer each year in the US (for a total of 5.4 million total cases, as some people have more than one), and about 15,000 die each year.
Because of this, SkinCancer.org and other organizations recognize May as Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
Fortunately, people can reduce their chances of skin cancer through simple preventative measures. Follow these tips to stay safe while enjoying the summer sun.
1. Apply (and Reapply) Sunscreen
Sunscreen is your main line of defense against skin damage from the sun. Use a broad-spectrum (meaning it covers UVA and UVB) product with at least SPF 15 every day that you go out into the sun. Make sure you apply it 15-30 minutes before going out so it has a chance to sink into your skin.
If you’ll be outside for longer, jump up to a water-resistant SPF 30 sunscreen.
Sunscreen wears off, too. Make sure you reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after sweating or swimming — even if the sunscreen is water-resistant.
2. Wear the Right Clothing
We aren’t saying that you can’t put on a bathing suit this summer. However, take some extra precautions when you aren’t in the pool by wearing clothing that offers further protection to your skin, such as a hat. Wide-brimmed hats offer protection all around your body, so they’re a great choice, but a baseball cap is better than nothing.
Get some UV-blocking sunglasses as well. This won’t do anything in terms of skin cancer, but it’ll keep your eyes safe from the sun.
3. Take Breaks From the Sun
It’s easy to lose track of time while you’re enjoying the sun, but make sure you’re taking breaks every so often to go sit in the shade for a bit. Doing so will further reduce your exposure without using any extra sunscreen.
If you struggle to remember to take “shade breaks”, set a reminder on your phone or have someone else remind you.
4. Eat the Right Foods
Believe it or not, the foods you eat can help you ward off the chance of skin cancer. Studies have begun to show that foods rich in antioxidants like Vitamins C, E and A, zinc beta carotene (carotenoids) and omega-3 fatty acids may help out here.
Now, you have to eat foods, not just take supplements. Nutritionists make this distinction because the interaction between the substances in the food matters. Simply taking supplements may not work as intended, and you may accidentally take an unsafe amount.
5. Visit a Dermatologist Annually
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to have a professional look for the warning signs. Thus, consider visiting a dermatologist at least once a year for a skin exam. They’ll be able to catch any bad signs early. Plus, if they find nothing, you can continue living life with peace of mind.
If you’re looking for skilled home health and home care services, Caring Family Health would be happy to speak with you. Contact us today to learn more.