Many people throughout Australia are aware of how harmful the sun's rays are. Although everyone needs some sunlight to generate vitamin D, over-tanning or burning increases your risk of skin cancer significantly. If you love to spend time outdoors, it's still safe to do so. However, you should also focus on adopting some safe sun practices that will help you keep your skin cancer risk low.
Know when the sun is at its strongest
The sun is at its strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Because of this, you should seek shade during these hours. If you're an outdoor worker or enjoying a day trip that doesn't permit much shade, try adopting other approaches:
- Wear a hat throughout the day that shades your nose. Noses are a prime area for developing basal cell carcinoma. Wearing a hat consistently will also limit UV damage to your eyes and you won't show signs of ageing as rapidly.
- Wear long, light, loose clothing such as white T-shirts and light-coloured linen trousers. They'll reduce the amount of UV rays you encounter, yet they are breathable enough to stop you from sweating and feeling uncomfortable.
- Top up your suncream every hour using a minimum SPF of 30. Although manufacturers claim their formula lasts all day, this may not account for sweating.
Check your medication packets
Certain medications make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Two classic examples are doxycycline and minocycline, which are both antibiotics. These types of drugs increase your skin's ability to absorb UV rays and contain harmful compounds that exacerbate the effects of sunburn. If you're taking them, consider what your usual protective measures are and increase them. Ideally, you will avoid spending unnecessary time in the sun altogether, as such drugs have the potential to cause painful burns.
Choose cosmetics with UV protection
If you regularly wear cosmetics such as concealer and foundation, switch your usual brands for those that offer UV protection. Many come with a basic SPF of around 15, which is better than using one without such features. However, if you're going to take your sun safety seriously, you'll also switch your moisturiser for SPF 30 suncream instead.
Visit a skin cancer clinic if you have concerns
Finally, if you do have concerns about previous tanning habits or recent skin changes, visit a skin cancer clinic. With the right checks and in-depth advice, you can reduce your personal risk profile for encountering skin cancer harms