Skin cancer is now the most common of all cancer types. There are more than 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed each year in the US; 76,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma in 2016 (1). In fact, one person dies of melanoma every hour (2).
Every single time your skin burns from the sun, your raise your risk of skin cancer greatly. Proper UV protection takes a comprehensive approach – and there are many easy habits you can start to keep yourself safe. Keep reading to see how to not get sunburned.
*Note: For total, comprehensive UV protection, use a broad spectrum sunscreen in addition to the methods below.
You must apply (and reapply every two hours if you're sweating, swimming or outside) a broad spectrum sunscreen if you are serious about preventing skin cancer or age signs. Choose a sunscreen with "broad spectrum" printed on the bottle – it's the only kind that will protect from both UVA and UVB rays:
RayDefense: This broad spectrum sunscreen provides protection for an active, outdoor lifestyle and prolonged sun exposure. It's lightweight and hydrating, so you can use it in place of your daily moisturizer.
SPF 50 FaceScreen: This will decrease the risk of skin aging as it improves the appearance of lines, wrinkles and the feel of firmness. It is light enough to wear under makeup.
Wear clothes with a "UPF" rating – that means Ultraviolet Protection Factor. You'll want a UPF of over 50 for ideal protection. You can find these online, or you may already have clothes with a good UPF. Denim has a UPF rating of about 1,700 and polyester is roughly 41. Don't forget to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen on any part of your body that is exposed.
Shade alone can't provide full UV protection, but it is a great tool to aid in UV protection. Sitting under a tree with dense foliage will help block out direct UV rays, but be sure to take other precautions to block indirect rays (3).
Not only will sunglasses with SPF lenses help protect the gentle under eye skin from burning, but they will also protect your eyes from sunburn. It seems shocking, but you can sunburn your eyes – it's called Keratitis and it can lead to irritation, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other diseases (4).
A hat made from a fabric with a high UPF rating will help protect the skin it directly covers and it will also provide shade – both great tools to aid in protection.
The sun's rays are the most intense from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, but they are still dangerous the rest of the day. If you don't need a flashlight to see, you need to wear your sunscreen. If you go out during these hours, make sure to apply ample sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
Did you know that redheads have a 102% higher risk of skin cancer than brunettes (5)? Or that 90% of all age signs are caused by the sun (6)? Most people know a lot less about sun safety than they realize. Take our quick quiz to see how "sun smart" you are.
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