Just because summer is winding down doesn’t mean you should become complacent about sun safety. Although light levels are lower during the autumn months, the sunlight is still intense enough to cause burns, skin damage and even skin cancer. For this reason, it’s important that you follow these skin cancer prevention tips for the fall season.
Don’t Get Comfortable in Cloudy Weather
As much as 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can pass through fog and clouds. This means that you’re still vulnerable to sunburns and at an increased risk for skin cancer, even in cloudy conditions. To minimize your risks, it’s recommended to use an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen whenever you’ll be outdoors for prolonged periods, even if it’s cloudy. Apply it at least 15 minutes before you head out, and reapply it every two hours.
Avoid Peak Sunlight Hours
zaThe sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm, so you’re more likely to burn during these times. If you plan to spend significant time outdoors, try to do it before or after these hours if at all possible or practical. Otherwise apply the recommended sunblock before each outing.
Eat For Skin Protection
Food does far more than just provide your body with the vitamins and minerals necessary for proper function. If chosen correctly, many foods can even help protect you from harm from the sun’s rays, thanks to important phytonutrients and antioxidants. Many of these foods are widely available, tasty and easy to use in a variety of recipes:
- Carrots: Their high carotenoid content minimizes the severity of sunburns.
- Watermelon and Tomatoes: These are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that not only reduces the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation but may also help lower the risk of skin cancer.
- Goji Berries: Also called “wolfberries,” these tiny fruits are high in astaxanthin, a potent carotenoid.
- Cocoa: One of the world’s most beloved foods, cocoa is an excellent source of numerous antioxidants that reduces the risk of cancer and prevents skin damage by fighting the formation of free radicals.
- Green Tea: This ancient beverage is full of Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant that has been shown in studies to protect skin against sun damage.
- Dark Leafy Greens: These are full of yet more carotenoids, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. Research has found that these two phytonutrients stopped ultraviolet light-induced cell growth, a major factor in the development of skin cancer.
- Wild Salmon: This fatty fish is a great source of astaxanthin and omega-3, both of which are believed to protect skin from the sun’s rays.
- Avocado: These fruits contain significant amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins E, A and D, and the fats in the avocado aid your ability to absorb them. These nutrients support the healthy growth and regeneration of skin cells.
Keep An Eye On Moles
Moles can become cancerous, even if you’ve had them a while. Be sure to check them once monthly for any changes, which could indicate skin cancer. Signs to look for include:
- Discoloration or changes in color that were previously absent
- Red, bumpy patches of skin that itch or bleed
- Sores or lesions that refuse to heal
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to contact a dermatologist right away to have the area checked professionally.
At Doctors Approach, our medical and dermatology teams specialize in treatments for conditions of the hair, skin and nails. We will work with you to help you and your skin stay safe all year. Contact Doctors Approach today to schedule a consultation.