Summer is the season for outdoor activities, which means that more people are at risk of sunburns and skin cancer.
Skin cancer occurs when skin cells begin to grow out of control. These new cells often form a lump or bump on the skin’s surface. The two most common types of skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
Skin cancer can be deadly if it isn’t caught early, so it’s important for everyone to take steps to reduce their risk of developing this serious disease. The best way to protect yourself against skin cancer is to avoid exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds.
The good news is that you can do a lot to protect yourself and your family from skin cancer by taking these simple steps:
- Sun avoidance. The most important thing you can do is avoid sun exposure, especially during peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest and most damaging. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on all exposed skin, even on cloudy days and while driving, but be sure to reapply it every two hours.
- Use sunscreen. Put it on before you go outside, and remember to reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Make sure the sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or higher, and look for water-resistant brands.
- Cover up with clothing and hats. Wearing long sleeves and pants is one way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays when you’re outside during peak sunlight hours (10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Also consider wearing a hat with a wide brim and sunglasses.
- Seek shade. When possible, seek shade or stay inside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially if you’re fair-skinned or have had previous skin cancers or precancers (actinic keratoses).