In Australia, skin cancer is a big problem. The sun is particularly strong over the country, and the numbers of skin cancer diagnoses climb every year. Although skin cancer is one of the most curable cancers if treated early, it’s still better to prevent it where possible. This article discusses ways that you can avoid ending up in a skin cancer clinic by practising good preventative strategies.
- Protect Yourself from the Sun
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to stay out of the sun, as it’s usually the sun’s rays that cause skin cancer. While this isn’t always true, as a skin cancer lesion can appear in places that are not usually exposed to the sun, it’s still an important factor that you have a lot of control over. Therefore, protecting yourself from the sun is essential when trying to prevent a trip to your local skin cancer clinic. Here are some simple steps to take to protect yourself from the sun:
Wear a Big Hat
A wide-brimmed hat will protect your head, face, ears, and neck from sun damage.
Wear long-sleeved tops and long pants to protect your skin. It can be tempting to wear less clothing in summer, but this will put your skin at risk. You should also note the fabric. Some fabrics naturally offer better protection from the sun – especially if they’re dark colored or tightly woven. Some clothes even have an SPF value like sunscreen.
Be Mindful of the Time
The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, so if you want to enjoy the sun, do so outside of these times. During the peak hours of sun strength, try to stay indoors or in the shade.
- Apply Sunscreen
For the best kind of sun protection, always choose a sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) like SPF 30 or more. Apply it to all areas of the skin where the sun might reach, including the face, ears, nose, chest and shoulders, arms, hands, stomach, back, legs and feet. Don’t assume that just because you have a hat on that you won’t get burned to − apply sunscreen as well to make sure you’re fully protected.
- Avoid Tanning
When you get sunburned, you’ve experienced skin damage caused by the sun. Yet for some reason, many people don’t realize that tanning can cause a similar form of damage. Sunburn and tanning increase the risk of getting skin cancer and having to visit a skin cancer clinic. Avoiding excessive doses of the sun’s UV rays will always help you prevent skin cancer lesions from forming on your body. (1)
If you take the above points seriously, you’ll have a much lower chance of getting skin cancer from excessive sun exposure. As a bonus, your skin will also be in better health and will naturally appear more youthful. So there’s more than one reason to slip slop and slap − you’ll be looking after your health and also preventing skin cancer at the same time.
Ana Miller is a creative writer. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.