Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US. It is most commonly caused by exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. With the weather getting warmer and days getting sunnier, it is especially important to make sure you’re staying protected by wearing (and reapplying) your SPF. Here are some tips for best staying protected.
1. Use an SPF of 15 or higher every day and an SPF of 30 or higher during extended outdoor activities
SPF numbers correspond with how long it would take your skin to burn from the sun. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection from sun damage.
The Skin Cancer Foundations says an SPF of 15 or higher is just fine for everyday use, but when spending prolonged periods outdoors and in the sun, make sure you’re using an SPF of 30 or higher
2. Use the correct amount of sunscreen
Experts recommend applying two tablespoons of sunscreen, or one ounce, to your entire body, including your face. To get a sense of how much sunscreen you should be applying to your face, a helpful trick is the two-finger rule—apply your sunscreen to cover the length of two fingers.
3. Reapply your SPF at least every 2 hours when outdoors
SPF loses its effects after a while. To stay protected, it’s important to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours. Take extra care to reapply after swimming or excessive sweating.
4. Find some shade
Find shade under a tree or umbrella or consider wearing a hat to shield yourself from harmful UV rays when outside for an extended period of time.
5. Perform a self-exam periodically
Skin cancer is highly treatable if caught early, so pay attention to any moles, blemishes, or freckles you have so you can keep an eye out for any new or changing spots on your body.
6. See a dermatologist for a professional skin exam
It’s always a good idea to get a professional opinion. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends going every year for a check in, but don’t hesitate to go in if you notice any potentially concerning spots.
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