Summertime in the Sunshine State means outdoor barbeques, laying out on the beach, and going for a swim in the local pool. We love doing these things in our state, and it’s why so many visitors flock to Florida during the summer season. But the sun does hold danger to locals and vacationers if they are caught out in it unprepared.
Before you get bored and hold up your SPF 50 sunblock as proof that you have nothing to fear when it comes to skin cancer, it might interest you to learn that a little sun may actually be the best form of skin cancer protection of all.
Although many dermatologists hold to the outdated belief that avoiding all sun exposure and lathering on sunscreen is the best protection against skin cancer, the science doesn’t exactly match up.
To understand proper skin cancer prevention, first we must have a basic comprehension of UV rays.
UVA vs. UVB
There are two types of ultra-violet rays emitted by the sun. The first, UVA light, is the radiation responsible for burning, damaging, and aging the skin, in addition to melanoma skin cancer—basically every harmful effect of getting too much sun.
However, the second type of ultra-violet light is UVB rays, which provides the body with crucial vitamin D3. Ironically, vitamin D3 is responsible for boosting the body’s immune system and protecting against cancer.
The problem with sunscreens and avoiding sun exposure altogether is that your body becomes deficient in essential vitamin D3, thus increasing the risk of cancer and illness. On top of that, many sun lotions actually contain toxic and carcinogenic ingredients.
Protecting Yourself from Skin Cancer
So, if avoiding the sun altogether and applying sun screen aren’t necessarily healthy ways to avoid skin cancer, then how can you protect yourself and your family from harmful UV rays?
The simple answer is to go out and enjoy the sun, but limit your exposure time to short durations. How long is too long in the sun depends on your skin tone—darker skinned people can be out in the sun for longer periods of time without danger, whereas those who are fair skinned burn quicker. Reddening of the skin is the body’s way of telling you that it is time to find some shade.
Other than limiting your sun exposure time, here are a few natural, healthy ways to protect your skin from UV rays if you are planning to be outside for an extended amount of time:
- Natural lotions (check labels)
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Jojoba oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Shea butter
Avoiding the sun and lathering on sunscreen every time you go out is virtually impossible in the Sunshine State, and as it turns out, it may not be all that good for you.
So go outside, enjoy the sun, and soak in that vitamin D3. But as the saying goes—too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Protect yourself from skin cancer by being smart about the time you spend laying out, and put on natural oil and sunblock.
If you have skin cancer, or are concerned about an abnormality, then take the first step towards healthy skin by calling skin cancer specialists at Gainesville’s Accent MD today.