It's that time of year again. . . the kids are out of school, the weather is sunny and just the right temperature, and it's the perfect time to take a vacation to the beach! You start to daydream about how much fun it's going to be, but then you think of some of the risks. What will be the most dangerous? The drive? The sharks in the ocean? What about the jellyfish?
The quietest and most dangerous predator is actually one of the main motivators of going on vacation: the sun.
It's estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime, but don't let the sun slow you down! You can lower your risk of getting melanoma skin cancer and sun damage by following these tips:
Find shade - Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. is when the sun is the strongest and ultraviolet rays are even more dangerous. Seek shade as much as possible during this time period.
Sunscreen is your friend - Sunscreen is great, but a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB), water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF greater than 60 is the best! Be generous with the amount of sunscreen you put on, and be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours and every time you sweat or swim. It's also important to put on your sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside because it needs about half an hour to start protecting your skin.
Do not tan - Whether it's in a tanning booth or in the sun, tanning your skin can be harmful. Tanning beds produce UVA rays, which are a cause of most melanoma cases and also the dreaded wrinkles.
Do not burn - A sunburn is radiation damage to your skin. Sunburns also are painful and can put a damper on any vacation.
Cover up - Wear clothing with SPF 100, a broad brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses so you can protect your skin and also win best-dressed at the beach.
Avoid the risk with newborns entirely - Babies can start wearing sunscreen at six months old, but keep your newborn out of the sunshine to protect your baby from early skin damage.
These steps can help you have a great vacation while also taking care of your health and future. You can never be too protective of your skin!
The Franciscan St. Francis Cancer Center Melanoma Program in Indianapolis has experts in prevention and radiation expertise. The Cancer Center's Melanoma Program in Indianapolis provides extensive research and clinical trials, less invasive surgical options, a multidisciplinary approach, a melanoma cancer nurse navigator, and offers a second opinion for melanoma diagnosis.
If you are at an increased risk for melanoma cancer, please make an appointment with one of our dermatologists at (877) 888-4422. For a previously diagnosed melanoma cancer, please make a second opinion consult at (317) 528-1420.
This article originally appeared in the July 2016 Inspiring Women: Flourish! enewsletter. Join Inspiring Women today: Call (317) 528-5865.