Summer is back again and the sun is beaming. The summer sun can bring a lot of fun, but also can be dangerous. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in the U.S. And according to the FirstHealth Cancer Report there were 2,300 cases of melanoma reported in North Carolina last year. It is important, whether you’re in the sun for 20 minutes or all day, to properly protect your skin from harmful rays. Here are some tips to stay safe in the fun summer sun:
- Stay in the shade when possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Umbrellas, tents, or covered porches give you the opportunity to enjoy the nice weather while being protected from the harmful UV rays.
- Use sunscreen that is 15 SPF or higher and remember to reapply every two hours. UV rays can start damaging skin within 15 minutes of being in the sun so it is important to apply sunscreen before going into the sun.
- Wear a wide brim hat to shade the face, ears and neck. Hats provide the best protection for your face. Hats made of tightly woven fabric provide the best protection. Try and avoid hats made of straw or have holes that let the sun through.
- Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses don’t just protect your eyes but the tender skin around them. Wear wrap-around sunglasses for the best protection.
- Wear clothing to protect exposed skin – tightly woven fabric offers the best protection from the sun’s UV rays. Keep in mind that a typical T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so it is important to use other types of sun protection as well.
If you are in the sun often it is important to check your skin, head-to-toe, every month. Self-exams offer the best chance of detecting the early warning signs of skin cancer. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, contact a physician immediately. See our article about what to look for to detect melanoma skin cancers.
FirstHealthMooreRegionalHospital’s ComprehensiveCancerCenter offers treatment and support for melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer patients in the Pinehurst, Raeford, Lumberton, Laurinburg, Rockingham, and Troy regions of North Carolina and beyond.