Though basking in the sun is relaxing and fun, it’s also dangerous for your health. Skin cancer is both dangerous and common—it’s the most common form of cancer in the United States and over 2 million people are diagnosed annually.
Even more startling, sun exposure is the primary cause of over 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer cases reported in the United States. Keep reading for more information about risk factors for skin cancer and how to stay safe in the sun.
Risk Factors for Skin Cancer
Some people possess characteristics that place them at a higher risk for developing skin cancer. These risks include:
• Having a large number of moles on the body
• Having red or blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin or freckles
• Experiencing difficulty tanning or having skin that burns easily
• Having a family history of skin cancer
• Taking medication that increases sun sensitivity
Sun Safety Tips
Follow these tips to stay safe in the sun:
• Stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is at its peak in the sky.
• Wear clothes made of tightly woven fabrics and a hat that shields your face, neck and ears.
• Wear sunglasses to protect your retinas and prevent the development of cataracts.
• Use a sunscreen that is at least SPF 15, applying it all over your body.
• Do not use tanning beds—they are just as damaging as natural sunlight.
Avoiding excessive sun exposure is ultimately the best way to protect your body from skin cancer. If you must go in the sun, routinely inspect your body for any changes such as a new freckle or enlarged mole. If you suspect that a spot on your skin is new or has changed in appearance, consult a dermatologist immediately.