5 Ways To Prevent Skin Cancer


Medically Reviewed by Dr. Lee Hwee Chyen

MBBS MRCP (UK) FAMS (Dermatology)

5 Ways To Prevent Skin Cancer

Introduction to Skin Cancer

Skin cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer globally, is primarily caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources like tanning beds. Here are five effective prevention strategies that can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.

1. Avoiding Peak Sun Hours

The sun’s UV radiation is the most intense and harmful during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Limiting outdoor activities during these times can substantially reduce UV exposure.

If you are outdoors during peak sun hours, seek shade whenever possible, such as under trees, umbrellas, or canopies. UV rays can reflect off surfaces like water, sand, and concrete, and can even penetrate through clouds. Seek shade even in situations where sun rays seem mild. This significantly reduces the risk of sunburn and skin damage from UV rays.

2. Using UV-Blocking Window Films

UV rays can penetrate windows in homes, cars, and offices, contributing to daily UV exposure. Installing UV-blocking window films cuts down on this exposure. These films can block up to 99% of UVA and UVB radiation without significantly affecting visibility or natural light. They are particularly beneficial for individuals who spend long hours near windows or who have sun-sensitive conditions.

3. Embracing Sun-Protective Accessories

Wide-brimmed hats provide substantial protection for areas commonly exposed to direct sunlight such as the face, ears, and neck. UV-blocking sunglasses protect the delicate skin around the eyes as well as the eyes themselves. Choose accessories that come with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating for better protection against UV radiation.

4. Incorporating Antioxidant-Rich Foods in Diet

Foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, dark chocolate, green tea, leafy greens, carrots, nuts, and seeds, can help protect the skin from damage caused by UV radiation and free radicals, which are harmful molecules that can lead to cancer. Antioxidants can also reduce oxidative stress in the skin and inhibit cellular damage from UV rays, thus protecting your skin.

5. Adopting Sun Safety Practices

Adopt the regular use of broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, which should be applied generously and re-applied every two hours, or more often if swimming or sweating. Wearing tightly woven, full-length clothing also enhances sun protection. Avoid artificial sources of UV light, such as tanning beds to protect your skin from UV radiation damage.

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