Be Skin Aware - 5 ways to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Over 80% of skin cancers are caused by UV radiation, which is given off by the sun’s light rays (and tanning bulbs in sunbeds). This month, Check4Cancer is sharing a series of blogs exploring being skin aware. In this blog, we explain how to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.

Here are 5 easy ways you can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer today:

1. Seek shade

The strength of UV radiation from the sun varies throughout the day and between seasons, as measured by the UV index. When the UV index is high, for example between 11am and 3pm, the sun’s rays are very powerful and risk causing skin damage in minutes. During periods of high UV index forecasts, the best protection for your skin is to seek shade.

Find out the UV index in your area.

2. Cover up!

Areas which are regularly exposed to the sun such as shoulders, arms and face are at an increased risk of sunburn and UV damage. Wearing loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made from close-weave fabrics such as polyester or rayon, offers an effective barrier against the sun’s harmful UV rays.1

3. Wear a hat

As an area largely exposed to the sun, it is also possible to get skin cancer on your scalp. While a baseball cap covers your scalp and some of your face, it still leaves your neck, lower face and ears exposed to the sun. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat in a UPF or close weave, light-coloured fabric offers the best protection for all of the sensitive skin around your head area.

4. Wear sunscreen

When choosing sunscreen, opt for SPF 30+ with a 4* or 5* UVA rating to provide sufficient protection from the sun. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside and reapply throughout the day every two hours. While sunscreen can help to shield you from UV radiation, you should never rely on sunscreen alone. Always try to use sunscreen together with protective clothing and shade.

Find out more on choosing the best sunscreen.

5. Invest in quality sunglasses

Not just a fashion statement, good quality sunglasses can also protect the delicate skin around your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Not sure what to look for? A small European CE mark on the frame indicates the lens meets minimum safety standards for UV protection.2

As the main cause of skin cancer is harmful UV radiation, taking steps to protect your skin will help to prevent skin damage. Remember the 5 S’s of sun safety and stay safe this summer.

  • SLIP a t-shirt on
  • SLAP on a wide-rimmed hat
  • SLOP the sunscreen on
  • SLIDE on sunglasses with UVA protection
  • SHADE from the sun during midday hours

At Check4Cancer we recommend staying skin safe by checking yourself for skin or mole changes once a month. If you are concerned about the appearance of your skin or a mole, book a SkinCheck with one of our skin specialists today. Or to learn more about detecting and preventing skin cancer, download our brochure on Skin Health.