Can you be sun smart for 31 days straight? With May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month and summer fast approaching, we are challenging you to take our 31 Day Sun Smart Challenge to build safe sun habits. Breaking a bad habit or starting a healthy new routine can be hard, but with the right motivation and support, you can do it. This month join thousands of people from around the world that are helping spread awareness about skin cancer and encouraging people to be sun-smart. Our hope is that this challenge will kick off many years of you protecting your skin from UV rays.
Why This Challenge is Important
Skin cancer can happen to people of any age, ethnicity, and gender. While skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, the good news is that it is very preventable, particularly if detected early. Nearly 85% of melanoma and 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are linked with exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Knowing your risks of developing skin cancer and protecting your skin is the key to cutting down on your cancer risk.
It’s never too early or late to safeguard your skin from sun damage. Children should be taught about skin protection at an early age,in order to instill life-long habits of protecting their skin from the sun. Elderly people too can stop further damage to their skin even if they have a history of previous sun exposure.
The Sun Smart Challenge Rules
Follow these tips to complete the challenge and lower your risk of developing skin cancer.
1. Seek Shade
Try being in the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM when the rays from the sun are at its strongest. Follow the “Shadow Rule,” according to which, if your shadow is shorter than your real size, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation is strong and if your shadow is longer, UV radiation is less intense.
2. Say No To Sunburns
People’s risk of developing melanoma doubles if they have a history of five or more sunburns at any point in their lives.
3. No Indoor Tanning
Research has shown that tanning machines can cause cancer in humans. The more time an individual spends tanning indoors, the higher the cancer risk.
4. Wear Protective Clothing & Accessories
Densely woven clothing with dark or bright colored fabric offers the best defense. Try wearing a hat with a broad brim and UV-blocking sunglasses when going out in the sun.
5. Slather on Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day of the year. If you happen to indulge in outdoor activities for long, use a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more and reapply it every 2 hours.
- Apply 2 tablespoons of sunscreen onto your entire body half an hour before going out in the sun. Reapplication of the sunscreen is recommended every two hours or instantly after heavy sweating or swimming.
- While a sunscreen can be used on infants over six months of age, they should mainly be protected by clothing and shade. Children are more sensitive to UV rays and a single sunburn can up their chance of developing skin cancer later in life.
6. Examine Your Skin
This is a great way to find early warning signs of skin cancer.Promptly see a physician if you find any change in an existing mole or spot any new mark that fails to heal after a few weeks.
7. Visit a Skin Cancer Physician
Nothing can replace a skin exam by a skin cancer physician. Therefore, if you are at high risk, it is recommended that you visit your skin cancer physician once a year for a full-body exam.
Our skin works hard to protect our body. Use these challenge rules to protect your skin, not only for the month of May, but year round.