a doctor checking on the patient

Shield Yourself from the Dangers of UV Rays

Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the U.S. The number of skin cancer cases in desert states is rising mostly due to exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. Now you can’t totally get away from the sun, but there are ways to minimize or prevent damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.

Get Your Car Tinted

Sunny places like Scottsdale, Arizona expose you to greater amounts of sunlight — even while driving. Tinting your car’s windows with ultraviolet (UV) filtering film gives you a measure of protection while you’re behind the wheel. You might not be aware of it, but driving can be one of the most common ways to get exposed to UV radiation. The accumulated radiation from your daily commute to work can put you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Your car’s windshield might already have UV protection, but your windows probably don’t.

Research shows that the majority of skin cancers in the U.S. develop on the left side of the body — the side exposed when driving. In the UK and other countries where the driver’s seat is on the right, skin cancers develop on the right side. Protective UV films on your windows can prevent 99 percent of UV exposure. You don’t have to worry about changing the look of your car as colorless UV films are also available. You should also consider using UV filtering films to protect your home, especially if you have large windows and enjoy letting in the sun.

Dress Like a Cowboy

Cowboys had it right. If you expect to be out in the sun for extended periods, you should probably wear protective clothing. Cowboys left very little skin exposed to the sun, and they even wore wide-brimmed hats. They probably knew very little about skin cancer or UV radiation, but the way they dressed gave them superior protection from the sun. Of course, you can’t dress up like a cowboy every day. Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and pair it with a stylish hat. Even celebrities like Hugh Jackman started wearing hats after multiple cancer scares. If you can’t wear a hat, a cap is the next best thing although it provides less coverage and protection.

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

applying sunscreen

This might be 90’s nostalgia, but wearing sunscreen is still good advice. You can’t always wear protective clothing, and you can’t always wear a hat. However, you can always wear sunscreen. Sunscreen with sun protection factors (SPF) of 15 can provide 93 percent protection from harmful UV rays and those with an SPF of 50 can provide 98 percent protection. Whether you’re participating in sports activities, leisure activities, or just simply walking in the sun, wear sunscreen. An application of sunscreen can protect you from UV radiation for two to three hours, though sweating and exposure to water could cut that time by half. Take note of your activities and just re-apply it when necessary.

You can’t avoid the sun forever, but you can protect yourself from its harmful UV radiation. The few little changes you make to protect yourself will have a big impact on your future, drastically reducing your chance of developing skin cancer.