Approximately 1 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, even though skin cancer is highly preventable. The fact is that everyone, regardless of skin color, should make sun safety a priority and incorporate protective measures into their daily lives. This is especially important for Coloradans; sunlight is strongest in high altitudes, which means more exposure to radiation.
The National Council on Skin Cancer prevention recommends the following precautions to reduce the risk of skin cancer:
Do Not Burn or Tan
- Avoid intentional tanning.
- Avoid tanning beds.
Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds causes skin cancer and wrinkling.
- When sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Wear Protective Clothing
- Long-sleeved shirt and pants.
- A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Generously Apply Sunscreen
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher for protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
- Apply 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours.
Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
- These surfaces reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
Get Vitamin D Safely
- Through a healthy diet and vitamin supplements.
Like most cancers, early detection of can save your life. Carefully examine your body once a month and be sure to have any new or changing spots evaluated by a healthcare professional.