In the United States, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, with approximately 5 million people being treated for it annually. Melanoma, one of three major types of skin cancer, causes about 9,000 deaths yearly. A misconception that people have about summertime is that we are only really exposed to the sun at places like the beach or a cruise, but those rays are shining down on you more than you may realize.
We are vulnerable to a pesky sunburn or even potentially skin cancer when we are walking, running, biking, outside in the yard, gardening, and more. This is why men are actually more prone to being diagnosed with skin cancer than women, due to evidence that men spend more time outside than women. Additionally, men are also more susceptible to premature wrinkles, damage to the skin, etc.
So, what can men do in order to reduce the risk of skin cancer and/or damage to the skin? Continue reading in order to find out what precautions you can take in order to prevent sun damage this summer.
1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Sunscreen
Before going to the nearest grocery store and pacing the aisles, trying to find where the sunscreen is, make sure you are familiarized with the basic sunscreen rules. First, make sure the sunscreen you buy has at least 15 SPF. Anything below that is not going to protect your skin. Keep in mind, if you are naturally paler, use a sunscreen with a high SPF. Apply the sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside and be generous with the amount you use. One important thing to note with sunscreen--applying it once is not enough. Reapply every two hours throughout your time outside. Shockingly, statistics show that only 14% of males apply sunscreen despite being outside longer than an hour. We need to change that!
2. Trust Your Gut Instinct
It is highly recommended to not use tanning beds--natural and safe tanning is the way to go with the correct protection and moderation in the sun. Other than that, think through your decisions before making them! Manage the time you spend outside and stay hydrated. Take breaks and head back inside if temperatures get too hot. Pay attention to your body and how you feel. If possible, make sure other people are around in case anything happens. Remember, between 10 am-4 pm is when the sun is at its strongest. Try to stay in the shade during those times or get out of the sun entirely. Whatever you’re doing can wait; your health is much more important!Lastly, if your job requires a lot of time outdoors, ask your supervisor if they have anything to protect you from the sun. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Oh, and if you happen to be lounging by the pool at a fancy resort, ask the server for a shot of aloe juice! It’s actually good, has many health benefits, and protects you from the sun. It’s a win win.
3. Protect Your Skin With a Hat and Sunglasses
If it’s not too unbearably hot outside, cover as much of your skin as possible with quarter-length sleeves, a hat, sunglasses, and pants (or maybe capri pants?). Remember to still apply sunscreen to your face, neck and arms using the guidelines in step one.
4. What If You Get Sunburnt?
Sometimes sunburns are inevitable, and preparation can only go so far. It’s just as important to know what to do in case you actually do get sunburned. Make sure to obtain some aloe vera. Some people grow aloe plants in their yards but you can also purchase some at the store. Aloe soothes the skin and eventually heals the sunburn. It also reduces the chance of your skin peeling. If you want to take a bath or a shower, make sure the water is cool as the hot water will only sting your skin. Take aspirin if you have no aversion to it as it has been proven to prevent the beginning stages of sunburn and it can alleviate pain as well. Lastly, make sure to keep your skin moisturized.
Luckily, you are on the right track! You’ve done the leg work (the research) and you are now one step closer to protecting your skin and ultimately the longevity of your life.