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5 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Skin Cancer this Summer

5 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Skin Cancer this Summer

Warm temperatures bring sun-soaked days, outdoor activities, and weekend barbeques. But with summer fun comes sun exposure — and an increased risk of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the top cause. Getting too much sun significantly increases your risk, but fortunately, taking the right precautions means you can enjoy summer and protect your skin at the same time.

At Medical Associates Of North Texas, our team offers skin analysis and skin biopsy to help prevent and detect skin cancers. In this blog, we’re exploring five of the most effective ways to lower your risk for skin cancer during the summer months.

1. Apply and reapply sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen protects your skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation and lowers your risk of skin cancer. Always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.

Apply about one ounce of sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin, including your face, neck, arms, and legs. Remember to put sunscreen on at least 15 minutes before going outdoors, and remember those often-overlooked areas like the tips of your ears and tops of your feet.

The key to continuous protection? Reapplication. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming.

2. Seek shade and limit sun exposure

The sun is strongest in the hottest part of the day, usually between 10am and 4pm. During this time, seek shade as much as possible to protect your skin.

Stay under trees and umbrellas, or wear sun-protective clothing. Limiting direct exposure to the sun during peak hours reduces your risk of sunburn and minimizes UV damage to your skin.

3. Wear protective clothing

Covering up with clothing is another effective way to shield your skin from the sun’s rays. Opt for lightweight, tightly-woven fabrics that cover your arms, legs, and torso. Look for clothes with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), which blocks UV radiation from penetrating your skin.

Don’t forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face, neck, and ears, and wear sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes and the delicate skin around them.

4. Practice sun-safe habits for children

If you have children, take extra precautions to protect their skin from the sun. Children tend to have more sensitive skin, making them particularly vulnerable to sun damage.

Keep children under six months old out of direct sunlight, and apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to children over six months old. Dress them in lightweight, protective clothing that covers their skin.

When you’re playing outdoors, provide shade with umbrellas or pop-up tents. Encourage sun-safe habits, like wearing hats and sunglasses and seeking shade during peak hours.

5. Perform regular skin self-examinations

The American Cancer Society recommends regular skin self-examinations to identify any changes or potential skin abnormalities as early as possible. Examine your skin from head to toe every month, looking for new moles, changes in existing moles, or any unusual growths. If you notice any changes, contact our team for further evaluation.

Bonus tip: get regular skin cancer screenings

You should get professional skin cancer screenings about once a year, along with self-exams. These screenings are one of the most effective ways to detect skin cancer in its early stages when it’s most treatable.

Sun exposure is impossible to avoid, but a few smart habits can help protect your skin and lower your risk of skin cancer this summer. To learn more about preventing skin cancer, contact our team at Medical Associates Of North Texas online or call our Fort Worth, Texas, office at 972-433-7178.

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