The majority of skin cancers are caused by over-exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays. While most UV exposure comes from being exposed to the sun, it can also come from some man-made sources like sun lamps, and tanning beds. People who get a lot of sun and are overexposed to ultraviolet rays are at greater risk for skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. You can reduce your risk of skin cancer by protecting yourself from excess sun and sunburns. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your family from getting too much sun.
Always use sunscreen, even if it’s a cloudy day.
- Choose a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum (protecting against UVA and UVB radiation.
- Choose a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, and is water-resistant.
- Use a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF of at least 30.
- Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside, and remember to re-apply every 2 hours.
- Remember to apply (and re-apply) sunscreen to kids older than 6 months.
- Babies younger than 6 months old should be kept covered and in the shade.
- Discourage teenagers from sunbathing, and remind them to wear sunscreen.
- Be careful at the beach. Sand and water can reflect the damaging rays of the sun increasing your risk of sunburn.
- Be extra cautious if you are taking any medication that may make you more sensitive to the sun such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, chemotherapies, antifungals, or blood pressure medications.
- Choose clothes that will protect you from the sun. If possible wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat with a brim, and sunglasses.
- Avoid the sun and seek shade, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are the most intense.
Exposure to the sun causes most wrinkles and age spots on our faces, and it can lead to much more serious consequences, including skin cancer. Protect yourself and your family from harmful UV rays with these tips.
If you’re concerned about your risk for skin cancers from overexposure to the sun, talk to your family doctor at River Bend Medical Associates. As part of your medical team, we are here to provide you with the best care in all aspects of your health care needs. For more information on our medical practice, or to make an appointment contact River Bend Medical Associates, or call 916-392-4000.