Hopefully you’ve been careful this summer, but you may still have acquired some damage. If this year’s warmest months (and all of the previous summers) have left you with dark spots, fine lines and other signs of sun damage, it is possible to improve the situation.
You might already know that catching a cancer early means a more favorable prognosis. But it can be difficult to comprehend just how big a difference early detection makes with melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma should never be underestimated, but treating a tumor early rather than after it is allowed to progress could be lifesaving.
The desire to avoid unpleasant symptoms and medical costs is a good enough motivator for many of us to develop healthy habits. In the hope that it will prevent illness, we eat well, exercise, wash our hands and take vitamins. Avoiding skin cancer is no exception — we wear sunscreen, seek the shade and cover up with clothing to reduce our risk of developing the disease. Unfortunately, though, even those with the most diligent sun protection regimen aren’t immune.
Sometimes identifying a potential skin cancer isn’t so straightforward. Skin cancer comes in many forms, and tumors don’t always display the most well-known characteristics of the disease.
Ideally, everyone’s sun protection education would begin at an early age. Learning to seek the shade, apply sunscreen and never tan are lessons that help keep you safe both during childhood and later in life. Some of us, however, don’t commit to a sun protection regimen until a little later in life.
When you think of sun protection, a few habits probably come to mind immediately. Wearing hats and sunglasses and applying sunscreen, for instance, are almost no-brainers for anyone looking to keep their skin safe from UV rays. But there are plenty of other products and behaviors you can incorporate into your sun protection strategy.
The right clothes offer more certain sun protection than sunscreen, since people often don’t use sunscreen in the right way (1 ounce applied evenly to all exposed skin every day, and reapplied every two hours if you’re exposed to the sun). But not all clothing is created equal.