Summer is a time of warm weather, sunny days and spending as much time outside as possible. Before you grab your coolest pair of sunglasses and head to the beach, though, it’s a good idea to brush up on some of the top skin cancer prevention tips to make sure all of that time in the sun doesn’t result in burned skin, weirdly shaped moles and an appointment at your dermatologist’s office. Here’s what to remember for your time in the sun:
Apply sunscreen (and keep applying it)
This is an obvious tip, but it’s the best way to prevent sunburns—and skin cancer. Thirty minutes before you go outside, apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of your body. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF 30 or higher and protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget to apply the sunscreen on your feet, the tops of your ears and your scalp if you’re bald. The sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
Consider off-peak hours
The sun’s rays are the most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so consider holding your outdoor activities outside these hours. Since the sun is out later in the summertime, you’ll still get to bask in the rays if you plan a 5 p.m. beach outing—and you’ll also be protecting yourself from skin cancer to boot.
Keeping out of direct sunlight is a key skin cancer prevention tip. Bring a shaded tent to the beach, wear sunglasses and hats with a wide brim when outside and wear clothing that covers your arms and legs (this is especially crucial if you’re at high risk for skin cancer).
Choose sunless tanner over a tanning bed
We all want that sun-kissed glow during the summer, but scheduling an appointment at a tanning bed or spending hours baking in the sun is not the way to do it. If bronzed skin is a must-have for you in the summer, opt for a sunless tanner that you can apply safely at home.
Get an annual skin check
An annual skin check with a dermatologist should be a regular part of your skin cancer prevention checklist. A dermatologist will be able to conduct a full-body examination to locate any new or changing moles and send out any suspicious spots for biopsies. Detecting skin cancer in its early stages is critical for successful treatment.
Moffitt Cancer Center is a recognized leader of cancer research and treatment, and we can answer your questions about skin cancer prevention. If you would like to consult with our specialized team in our Cutaneous Oncology Program, give us a call at 1-888-663-3488 or fill out a new patient registration form online.