What You Need to Know About Skin Cancer Prevention

November 12, 2012

What You Need to Know About Skin Cancer Prevention

Whether you know it or not, you need to protect yourself from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun at all times no matter what season it is. This is true whether it is an over cast day or a beautiful cloudless day. Protecting yourself is just as important in winter with snow on the ground as it is in summer and you are at the beach. Ultraviolet rays are very short wave length forms of electromagnetic radiation that bounce off of many surfaces exposing you to these harmful rays in more ways then you can imagine. These rays tend to become the most harmful from mid morning to mid afternoon and are the greatest in strength in late spring and early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. We’ll take a look at things you can do the protect yourself from these harmful rays.

One easy way to protect yourself from skin damage is to find some sort of shade whether it be shade from a tree, umbrella or some sort of man made shelter if you are going to be outside for any length of time. If your out in the open far away from any protective shelter, bring along an umbrella. Umbrellas have been used for centuries to keep off undesirable rays and more recently have come back into fashion again to help prevent skin cancer.

Clothing is another option for sun protection to help prevent skin cancer. Consider long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect your arms and legs. You might want to consider darker colors during the winter for warmth and lighter colors for the summer for keeping cooler. If you are outside a lot, consider buying special clothing that carries a high sun protection factor (SPF) built right into the clothing. There are a number of clothiers that carry these cloths for gardeners and other individuals that work outdoors a lot.

If you’re into hats, they offer wonderful sun protection for your face, ears, neck and head to prevent skin cancer at the top. Believe it or not you’ve probably been sunburned on the top of your head even if you have hair that covers you. It is best to purchase a hat that has a tight weave with a large brim. Straw hats are not your best choice because of the holes in between the woven materials but if that’s all you have at the time it is better than nothing.

Don’t forget to protect your eyes. Sunglasses are necessary all year round. Ideally, you want to purchase sunglasses that prevent UVA and UVB rays from getting to your eyes. Make sure to get large rimmed glasses to protect the delicate skin around your eyes. Don’t worry about what is in style. Get what is safe to prevent eye damage and skin cancer. Wearing sunglasses may reduce your risk of getting cataracts and retinal melanoma. When cataracts continue to develop, they need to be removed at some point otherwise you won’t be able to see.

Sunscreen is another part of your skin care kit. Science tells us that our skin can be damaged by UV rays within 15 minutes. Make sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of your body before you venture out into the sun to prevent skin cancer. All sunscreen products are not created equal so you may have to try a few brands before you find the one that is right for you. If you are sensitive or allergic to any of the ingredients, you may have to get help from your healthcare provider to get one that works for you. And, remember that sunscreens have different modes of action whether they reflect, absorb or scatter light. You need to determine which is best for you. Remember, the higher the SPF number, the better the protection from skin cancer.

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