According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the most common form of cancer is to the skin. More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the U.S. — more than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined!
The good thing is, skin cancer can be prevented by taking proper precautions to protect our skin against damaging UV rays. Even if you tried desperately last summer to work on your tan (and didn’t protect your skin), skin cancer is easily treated if found early.
Here’s some tips on how to protect our skin during the summer months:
Wearing a long-sleeved, light shirt will help protect your back and arms, and a hat will help protect your face. Wear sunglasses as well to keep your eyes safe and healthy!
Avoid The Tanning Bed
Tanning does some serious damage to your skin over time. If you’re going to opt for a sun-kissed tan, try natural spray tanning as a healthier alternative. You’ll thank yourself later.
Take it from Women’s Health Magazine – “Oncologists now believe [tanning beds] are to blame for the alarming spike among young women in lethal melanoma cases – the second most common cancer in adults under 30.”
Stay Out of the Sun
It’s hard to stay out of the sun when it’s summer, but there are a few things you can do to help make it so the UV Rays aren’t as damaging. Try to be in a shaded area where you can take breaks when needed from your activities. Peak sun hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so you should also plan trips or activities at a time where that’s avoided. Bringing an umbrella with you to sit under at the beach is also a great way to keep the sun off of you.
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
If you’re outside for extended periods of time, it’s recommended to use a natural SPF 30 sunscreen. As someone with fair skin who burns easily, it’s important to stay on top of my sunscreen game! I use SPF 45 or more. Remember – if you’re swimming or sweating excessively, sunscreen needs to be reapplied afterwards. It should also be reapplied about every two hours for maximum coverage and protection.
Check Your Skin
Grab a mirror and check your skin! The majority of skin cancers are found by the patient themselves or their partner. It’s important to be familiar with how your skin looks so you can notice any changes that happen. Not sure what to look for? Check out this article by the Skin Cancer Foundation on the ABCDE’s of melanoma.
See Your Doctor Every Year
I know – going to the doctor sounds awful. The wait times are long, and the appointments never last long enough to discuss everything. Regardless, if you make it a habit to visit your physician at least once a year, they’ll be able to keep track of multiple factors of your health. This is important because they’ll be able to see any changes that may have happened over the years. Get your skin checked every year by your doctor.
It’s important to get enough water every day – especially in hotter months. It’s easy to want to drink a cold lemonade or a margarita, but these drinks tend to make you more dehydrated. Try drinking water spruced up with fruits like raspberries, lemons, limes, or oranges. You’ll feel better and your skin will look better as well! It’s recommended to drink 8 glasses a day, but it wouldn’t hurt to get extra if you’re out in the sun!
This post was contributed by Samantha Thayer, CHES. Samantha is the online outreach and education specialist for USANA Health Sciences. For more information on how you can love life and live it, visit us at our blog What’s Up, USANA? Or find us on Twitter @USANAInc.