With Spring in full wing and Summer on its heels, the sun is out! The only real way to avoid skin cancer and sun damage is to never go outside during the daylight hours. Obviously this is not a reality for most people. Find out how to stay properly protected for the upcoming sunny months.

Proper SPF coverage is crucial when it comes to protection against skin cancer and sun damage (dark spots and hyper pigmentation). Every time you go outdoors you are getting sun exposure which is why it is important to cover all areas of the body. Confusion about SPF types and numbers leads many people astray and left unprotected by the correct sunscreen. Broad spectrum SPF, which simply means protection against UVA and UVB rays, at a minimum of SPF 30, is a must. A physical sunscreen (containing Titanium dioxide or Zinc oxide) is best. The most common areas people protect are the face, shoulders, arms and back, while often ignoring crucial areas like the scalp, lips, tops of feet, and eyes.

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The face is extremely vulnerable to skin cancer and burning (caused by UVB rays), dark spots, hyper pigmentation and wrinkles (caused by UVA rays) and should always be protected with an SPF of at least 30. Wearing a hat and protective gear/clothing is crucial when outdoors. Commonly missed or ignored areas such as the lips, nose and the tops of ears are in danger of non melanoma cancers and should always be covered with sunscreen, clothes or gloves.

Don’t forget about your scalp. This is not only a warning to bald men, though at highest risk, but also form women and anyone with hair. Yes, hair can protect your scalp but sun rays can still get thru and burn you. Wearing a hat is very important when in direct sunlight as well as putting on SPF if any areas of the scalp are exposed. Bald men need to always wear SPF and a hat. The other lurking danger with the scalp is that hair can hide an actual skin cancer. Visiting your Dermatologist once a year and getting a body check can protect against developing skin cancer or treating early signs.

Don’t forget to protect your eyes, they can get sun burned too! The best way to protect the eyes and eye region is to invest in good quality sunglasses that protect 100% from UVA/UVB rays, the larger the better to protect the delicate skin in the eye region.

The tops of hands and feet are also vulnerable to burns usually because they are forgotten. Apply sunscreen to both if you’re going to barefoot or in open toes shoes. Hands get lots of sun form driving, so always wear an SPF if not a trendy pair of driving gloves. One of the most common and dangerous areas for skin cancers and melanoma is the back. This is mostly pertaining to men as they tend to not ask someone to rub sunscreen on their backs. Try wearing a shirt if you’re mowing the lawn or in the water for a long period of time.

Remember to choose broad spectrum SPF, apply and reapply throughout the day, wear protective hats and clothing and always go for a yearly skin cancer check up with a dermatologist.

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