Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. In fact, more skin cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. each year than all other cancers combined. The number of skin cancer cases has been going up over the past few decades. The good news is that you can do a lot to protect yourself and your family from skin cancer, or catch it early so that it can be treated effectively.
An obvious but very important way to limit your exposure to UV light is to avoid being outdoors in direct sunlight too long.
Protect your skin with clothing
When you are out in the sun, wear clothing to cover your skin. Clothes provide different levels of UV protection. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts cover the most skin and are the most protective. Dark colors generally provide more protection than light colors.
Sunscreen is a product that you put on your skin to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. But it’s important to know that sunscreen is just a filter – it does not block all UV rays. Sunscreen should not be used as a way to prolong your time in the sun. Even with proper sunscreen use, some UV rays get through, which is why using other forms of sun protection is also important.
Read the labels
When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to read the label. Sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended.
Be sure to apply the sunscreen properly
Always follow the label directions. Most recommend applying sunscreen generously. When putting it on, pay close attention to your face, ears, neck, arms, and any other areas not covered by clothing. If you’re going to wear insect repellent or makeup, put the sunscreen on first. Ideally, about 1 ounce of sunscreen (about a shot glass or palmful) should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck, and face of the average adult.
Wear a hat
A hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around is ideal because it protects areas that are often exposed to intense sun, such as the ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.
Wear sunglasses that block UV rays
UV-blocking sunglasses are important for protecting the delicate skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves.
Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps
Tanning lamps give out UVA and usually UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage and can contribute to skin cancer.
Protect children from the sun
Children need special attention. They tend to spend more time outdoors, can burn more easily, and may not be aware of the dangers. Parents and other caregivers should protect children from excess sun exposure by using the steps above.
Sun exposure and vitamin D
Vitamin D has many health benefits. It might even help lower the risk for some cancers. Your skin makes vitamin D naturally when you are in the sun. How much vitamin D you make depends on many things, including how old you are, how dark your skin is, and how strong the sunlight is where you live.
Find skin protection products at Roadway
We carry a wide selection of sunscreen, aloes, sunglasses, hats, and more.
Give us a Call!
We would love to answer any questions you have about skin cancer and help you prevent it. You can either call us at (814) 446-5536, submit a question on our Contact Us page, or stop in to see us.