How to reduce your risk for skin cancer this summer

ImageSummer is here and with the warm, balmy weather, you’re going to want to spend some time outside. Whether you’re gardening, swimming, exercising, playing at the park or just lounging around in your back yard, your skin is going to come into contact with the sun’s rays. While a little sun exposure is probably okay, if you’re going to be spending any significant length of time outdoors, you need to protect your skin. There’s no need to stay inside on gorgeous days – instead, use these smart tips to reduce your risk of skin cancer this summer.

Wear Sunscreen

This is almost a “duh,” but you’d be surprised at how many women (and men) go without sunscreen outdoors. They may put it on at the beach when they’re going to be in the sun for hours at a time, but not when hanging out at the park or doing yard work. The truth is, you need sunscreen any time you’re going to be out in the sun for fifteen minutes or more. Look for a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection, and apply often. Also, don’t skip sunscreen on cloudy days – the sun’s rays still penetrate through the clouds.

Forget The “Base” Tan

Many people start visiting tanning beds around March, hoping to get a good base tan that will protect them from getting burned later on in the summer. This is a myth – you can still get burned if you have a tan, and tan skin actually increases your chance of getting skin cancer. If you can’t stand pasty white legs peeking out of your summer shorts, opt for a professional spray tan or even a high quality self-tanner. Both will give you the skin color you desire without the dangers of tanning beds.

Choose When To Go Out In The Sun

The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If you can avoid going out in the sun during these hours, you’re going to reduce your risk for skin cancer significantly. If you are outside during these hours, consider getting in the shade, such as under a tree or an umbrella.

When enjoying the sun and wonderful summer weather, remember to care for your skin! If you’re smart about exposing your skin to the sun and use sunscreen appropriately, your chances of getting skin cancer will all but diminish.

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