Sun Care after Skin Cancer
No matter when it happens, a skin cancer diagnosis can be a major wakeup call for anyone — of course, the earlier you catch it, the better, which is why regular skin monitoring and checkups are so important. Since almost half of Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by age 65, according to Everyday Health, this is a prevalent issue that will affect a lot of us. Whether immediate treatment involves surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of these things, when you find out your skin has suffered, it’s only normal to start thinking a little more proactively about skin care and how to protect against sun damage moving forward.
With that in mind, what can you do? How do you protect your skin? What are good habits to adopt? To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some top tips for practicing effective sun care after skin cancer:
- 1.Limit Sun Exposure. Obviously the best and most effective way to avoid sun exposure is to avoid it as much as you can. If you can avoid going out during the hottest, brightest parts of the day, do it. Also try to limit your sun exposure to minutes instead of hours in the heat. While one afternoon in the sun won’t give you cancer, a habit of spending time outdoors is a definite risk factor. Adapt your lifestyle to involve less time outside in the middle of the day.
- 2.Seek Shade. If you are going to be outside, whether it’s for a backyard party, a ball game, a picnic in the park or some other outdoor event, find shady areas to spend time, especially if you’re out during the peak hours of UV radiation (i.e., between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). By sitting in some sort of shady space, you’ll block at least part of sun damage.
- 3.Make Your Own Shade. Some places are easier to find shade than others, so if you’ve got an outdoor space at your property that lacks proper cover, add some of your own. Invest in shade structures like umbrellas or canopies that provide ideal spaces for you and your friends and family to gather. This will help protect your skin as well as your loved ones.
- 4.Wear Protective Gear. From sunscreen (at least 30 SPF if not more) that you slather on your body to a wide-brimmed sun hat that protects your head, gather protective gear to take with you when you’re out in the sunshine. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage, light and long clothing to protect your arms and legs, and anything else you can find that will add a little extra insulation from sun damage.
- 5.Keep Up with Checkup Appointments. After you’ve completed treatment for skin cancer, your doctors will want to keep monitoring you over time. “It’s very important to keep all follow-up appointments,” says The American Cancer Society. “Follow-up is needed to check for signs of the cancer coming back, as well as possible side effects of certain treatments.” Because early detection is crucial to stopping and preventing cancer before it spreads, keeping up with all your appointments is vital.
- 6.Monitor Your Skin Closely. At the same time, don’t rely completely on the medical professionals to catch new cancer warning signs — be proactive about catching any future progressions yourself by checking, or having your spouse or roommate check, your skin regularly. If you see anything new on your skin at all, let your doctors know.
In today’s society, where sun damage and skin cancer are so common, it’s easier than ever to forget about sun safety and let your body bear the side effects. Though as a skin cancer survivor, however, risks in sun exposure are risks you can’t afford to take. To insulate yourself from further damage and to protect your health, follow the tips above. By being cautious with your skin and practicing good preventative habits, you can set yourself up with lowered risks and greater wellness for years to come.
About the author:
Jeff Caldwell is Brand Manager of Superior Shade in Carrollton, GA. Superior Shade provides custom umbrellas and other shade structures to fit your outdoor space. Their products provide protection from the sun and harmful UV rays.