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MAR 7th 2014

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips For One Extra Hour Of Sunshine

MAR 7th 2014
Skin Cancer Prevention Tips For One Extra Hour Of Sunshine

Daylight savings time is this Sunday (March 9th) – and that means we get to spring forward with an extra hour of sunshine in the evenings. We also have to adjust to getting up an hour earlier, but no one wants to think about that.

All that extra sun means an hour of extra fun – and unfortunately, an extra hour of cancer-causing ultraviolet rays.

The sunlight’s UV rays are directly responsible for most types of skin cancer. They age your skin cells, damage your DNA and can trigger cell mutations that cause malignant melanoma (skin cancer). They can also cause age spots, wrinkles and dry skin, which aren’t much fun, either.

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and melanoma rates have been steadily increasing for the past 30 years. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 76,100 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, and about 9,710 of those people will die.

The good news is that, according to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.

So, what can you do to stay safe in the sunnier months ahead? Here are some skin cancer prevention tips to help get you started.

  • Cover up with sun-protective clothing. Strangely, fewer people got skin cancer back in the days when more people wore bathing suits like this.
    1920 swimsuits and skin cancer prevention tips
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen – it should have an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher. Simply explained, if it normally takes you 20 minutes to get sunburned, a 15 SPF sunscreen protects you for 15 times 20 minutes, or about 5 hours.
  • If it takes you an hour to get a sunburn, 15 SPF will protect you for 15 hours. And so on. The Skin Cancer Foundation has a handy guide to finding the right sunscreen.
  • Try to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the hours when you’ll catch the most UV rays. Seek the shade. And – as tempting as it may be – do NOT go tanning.
  • UV-blocking sunglasses are also a good idea. Did you know you can get melanoma in your eyes?

So, have fun in the sunny months ahead, but be smart. And, don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour on the evening of March 8.

For more helpful articles and cancer prevention tips, click here.

Talk to us in the comments! What are you doing to help prevent skin cancer and get ready for the months of sunshine ahead?

(Images from Parade and