Protect Yourself From Sunburn & Skin Cancer

Protect Yourself From Sunburn & Skin Cancer
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Protect yourself from Hawaii's damaging ultraviolet radiation and maybe avoid some skin cancer along the way.

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Guide Series: Hawaii Dangers
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Do you know what the largest organ on your body is? Your skin, and it requires care and protection to remain healthy. In a place like Hawaii, it's impossible to avoid the sun so protection from it is key.

When it comes to skin cancer there are two types: melanoma skin cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma skin cancer is the rarest type. According to the American Cancer Society, over 73,000 people in the USA will get this type of skin cancer in 2015. Non-melanoma skin cancer is more common. Unfortunately, this means around 3.5 million people in the USA will be diagnosed with it this year.

What Causes Skin Cancer?

The most common cause is ultraviolet radiation (UVR) which comes from the sun. UVR's also come from tanning devices. Up to 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are caused from over exposure to UVR's. Exposing yourself to a tanning bed in your youth may increase your risk of developing melanoma skin cancer later in life.

How Do You Protect Yourself?

Avoiding tanning beds, and even tanning from the sun, is an easy place to start. This is especially important if you have fair skin to being with (our ginger friends know this all too well). As it turns out, even folks with darker skin are at risk. While they may be less likely to get skin cancer, it's a serious issue with a higher death rate due to lower early detection rates.

Top Six Ways To Protect Yourself From The Sun

Don't Tan
Skip tanning from the sun and tanning beds. Risking cancer is not worth being golden brown just so your friends can be jealous of your Hawaiian vacation.

Use Sunscreen When You Are Outdoors
In Hawaii, shoot for a high SPF. Many experts suggest an SPF of 30 and say that anything over 50 doesn't do anything extra to protect you. Apply 30 minutes before you head out. Use around 1 ounce (a shot glass full) per person. Reapply every 2 hours. See, you were doing it wrong weren't you?

Find Shade
This is an easy one. Whenever possible, find a shady place to hang out. If you're on a beach set up an umbrella, find a shady tree to lay under, or just put a towel over your exposed skin.

Cover Up
I love a tiny bikini as much as the next guy, but covering up your skin is safer than exposing it. Consider wearing a rashguard or otherwise cover up your skin when possible. This might be as simple as tossing on a shirt when you leave the water to hang out on the beach.

Protect Your Undercarriage
Water is highly reflective. Many people don't protect their underside well, or at all. When you apply sunscreen get the bottom parts of your arms, inner thighs, chin, etc. Got a few love rolls on that belly? Then get some sunscreen on the bottom bits!

Get Checked
Consider getting an annual check from your doctor to detect any early signs of skin cancer. Got any moles or odd bits on your skin that are changing color, shape, or size? They should be checked right away.

Best Sunscreens To Use

Consumer Reports tested 58 lotions, sprays, and sticks and found that 1/3 of the products they tested had half the claimed SPF protection level. Here are some they did recommend...
Did you already go and get yourself a sunburn? Then you'll want to read up on how to Get Rid Of Sunburn.