It’s well known and frequently talked about that protecting yourself from the sun is crucial in preventing skin cancer and melanoma. Wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, and seeking shade are all things we know to do. However, we all make mistakes, including when we’re out and about in the summer months.
To help keep your skin protected, we’ve listed five commonly made mistakes in the sun, especially when it comes to sunscreen.
1. Visiting a Tanning Salon to Prevent Burning
If you build a base tan, your skin will be used to the UV rays and you won’t burn, right? This is a common misconception. Indoor tanning is a known cause of skin cancers. By tanning before you plan to spend a lot of time outside, you’re exposing yourself just as much, if not more, than what you would have originally. Plus, when tanning, you don’t use SPF.
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2. Applying Sunscreen When You’re Already Exposed
It’s usual you get to the beach or pool, set up your things, and then apply your sunscreen. Unfortunately, it’s not the right order you should go about the day. Sunscreen should be applied generously about 30 minutes before you step out into the sun. After a half hour, the UV blockers will have bonded to your skin, offering the best protection.
3. Not Reapplying Sun Screen Frequently
Sure, the sunscreen you’re using says its water and sweat proof, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to reapply! After your initial sunscreen application, you should reapply every two hours, and especially right after you’ve been exercising or swimming.
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4. Not Using Sunscreen With Enough SPF
You should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30. A tan may seem nice, and the oils with less than 30 SPF will get you there, but avoiding melanoma and other skin cancers is more important to your health.
5. Missing Important Areas On the Body
So now that you’ve applied a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 a half an hour before going outside, and you’ve continued to reapply every two hours, you should be safe, right? Not necessarily! Are you sure you applied to ALL of your exposed skin? Commonly missed areas include:
- Your ears
- The side of your face
- The tops of your feet
- The front and back of your neck
- Your scalp (especially on bald spots, hair parts, or if you have a buzz cut)
Don’t forget to protect your lips with a lip balm that contains SPF. Are you guilty of any of these? Now you can be well-equipped to go outside and face the sun with confidence.!
The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides world-class cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, to help you in your cancer battle. We are the only comprehensive cancer center in our region, as designated by the National Cancer Institute. We have more than 60 locations throughout western Pennsylvania and Ohio, with more than 200 oncologists. Our internationally renowned research team is striving to find new advances in prevention, detection, and treatment.