The summer season is just around the corner. Or if you’re in Arizona, like those of us at our cancer center, it seems it’s already here! While you’re making plans for summer vacations and days spent at the river or on the lake, we’re here to remind you of one simple thing that’s a key part of living a holistic, cancer-free lifestyle: skin protection. Your skin is the largest organ in your body but one of the easiest to forget about.
In this blog post, we have a few simple tips for protecting your skin and preventing melanoma and other cancers this summer — and all year long.
Cover Up With Clothing & Glasses
Wherever you go, don’t forget to pack your hat and sunglasses. You might even keep extras of each in your car! Make sure your sunglasses have a dark tint and fully cover your eye area, wrapping around the face if necessary. Plus, a UV protective lens will keep out those dangerous, cancer-causing rays. Look for the UV protection sticker when you buy them. For optimal coverage, hats should have wide brims that cover your face, neck, and shoulders.
The clothing you wear is just as important. Pick up dark or brightly colored threads, which absorb the greatest amount of sun rays and prevent them from hitting your skin. Tightly knit fabrics also prevent harmful rays from getting in. If you can, opt for clothing made with sun-protective materials and a high SPF factor, found at many outdoor retailers.
Slather on Sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the most important things to wear daily, not just for cancer prevention but also for anti-aging benefits. Choose sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply every 2 to 3 hours, or as directed on the label. Will you be sweating or going swimming? Make sure your sunscreen is waterproof for at least 60 minutes, and apply more often. And while you may think your clothes are protecting your body enough, you should also apply sunscreen to areas you may have forgotten, including your ears, neck, shoulders, arms, legs, and feet.
Consider the Inside as Well as the Outside
What you consume can have a major effect on how your skin handles the sun’s rays. For instance, certain common medications such as some antibiotics and cardiac drugs can make your skin overly sensitive, causing burns. On the flip side, there are things you can consume that boost your skin’s protection, including both supplements and foods. Antioxidant-rich foods such as citrus fruits, carrots, green tea, and leafy vegetables are best. You shouldn’t rely on these alone (never skip that sunscreen!), but they can give you an extra boost — and they are great for cancer prevention.
These simple tips are just a few small pieces that contribute to healthy lifestyle that actively prevents cancer. Because cancer is an environmental disease, skin care is just one of many factors that can affect its growth and development. You can read more about these different factors in our free e-book, available on our website. You may also find some of the tips in this blog post to be helpful for creating the preventive lifestyle you seek.