By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
There’s a beauty about getting older—you become more comfortable in your own skin. The need for approval diminishes, you’re more confident in life and you can speak your mind without the fear of rejection. But if you want to stay comfortable in your own skin as you age, you need to be protecting it properly!
Unfortunately, we pay little attention to sun exposure and its connection to skin cancer. We spend a lot of time outside, often without taking precautions such as wearing long pants and sunblock. What can we do to reduce the risk of skin cancer? Fortunately, it’s relatively simple:
Whenever possible while working outside, position yourself in shaded or covered areas.
Wear sunblock every day. Use one that’s at least SPF 15. Apply sunscreen daily to your face, arms and hands (and your head if appropriate). If you’ll be working outside in shorts, remember to protect your legs too.
Cover up. While sunblock is effective, you need to remember to put it on and reapply periodically. It’s often easier to use clothing to provide protection. Hats (some offer neck coverings), long sleeves and pants often block rays as well as sunscreen. If you choose lightweight, quick-drying fabrics that breathe, you may feel less hot wearing long sleeves and pants than you would in a tank top and shorts.
Monitor your skin for changes that can indicate skin cancer. You should perform frequent self-skin exams and visit your doctor regularly for full-body skin checks.
We all face unique exposure for skin cancer but we can also reduce our risk through behavioral changes and increased awareness. And with summer upon us, there’s never been a better time to start as June is Skin Cancer Awareness Month – Cover up with that sunscreen!