Spring is in the air and many Floridians are excited to see flowers bloom and feel the warmth of the sun. But as comforting as the sun can feel on your face, you shouldn’t forget unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can have damaging effects on your skin and eyes. Prolonged exposure may lead to skin cancer, which is the most common of all cancers. While it’s fine to celebrate the arrival of spring, keep sun safety in mind. Here are the best practices for sun safety this spring to avoid skin cancer.
Don’t skip the sunscreen
Most people only remember to bring and apply sunscreen when they’re engaging in fun outdoor activities such as going to the beach and swimming. However, you should be wearing sunscreen anytime you expect to be exposed to the sun’s rays. And yes, that includes your commute to work, a walk in the park, or running errands.
Sunscreens come in various dosage forms, including creams, lotions, gels, sprays, and even powder. Find one you like for everyday use and for days that you expect high and prolonged exposure to the sun. In general, you should be using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Remember that there’s the risk of UV exposure even on cloudy days. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on commonly forgotten areas like the ears, tops of your feet, and scalp (especially if you have thin hair). And if you sweat or get wet, you should be reapplying sunscreen.
Wear protective clothing and accessories
When you think of spring outfits, you’re probably thinking of breezy dresses, cropped pants, or tank tops and shorts (don’t forget the flip-flops). If you’re wearing clothes this season that expose your skin, don’t forget to wear sunscreen. However, sunscreen won’t last all day, especially if you’re not reapplying. Add another layer of defense with protective clothing and accessories, such as a light long-sleeved shirt, a broad-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
Carry an umbrella
Now that more people are aware of the dangers of prolonged sun exposure and how it increases the risk of skin cancer, umbrellas are no longer exclusive to rainy weather. Go ahead and carry a pocket umbrella, which is lightweight, compact, foldable, and easily fits in your bag. Open it up anytime you recognize that you’ll be exposing your skin to the harsh rays of the sun. Dark-colored umbrellas provide the best protection from the sun. Consider buying an umbrella that has UV-blocking qualities.
Seek the shade
If you’ve left the house and realized you’ve forgotten to apply sunscreen or aren’t wearing protective clothing, seek the shade. Trees and tall buildings provide shaded areas when you’re outdoors. It’s especially important to avoid direct sun exposure when its radiation is the strongest, which is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about cancer-fighting support.