Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. However, there are several steps you can take to lower your risk. If you’re planning a boat trip to sunny Florida, be cautious of too much sun exposure. If you’re lucky enough to avoid cancer, you’ll still have to deal with premature signs of aging, like wrinkles and age spots. Here are six tips to stay safe in the sun. 

  1. Protect yourself.
    Try to wear long pants, long sleeved shirts, and wide brimmed hats as often as possible. If you find such clothing too oppressive in the Florida heat, slather yourself in sunscreen and linger in the shade.
  2. Wear sunglasses.
    UV rays can cause serious eye problems, such as cataracts. Wear sunglasses that block UVB and UBA rays to protect your precious eyeballs.
  3. Limit your time in the sun.
    Sun rays are strongest from 10am to 4pm. Plan to be in the sun early in the morning or later in the afternoon. If you find yourself outside in the middle of the day, camp out in the shade.
  4. Use sunscreen correctly.
    It takes only 15 minutes for UV rays to damage your skin. To protect your body, put sunscreen on every inch of your body that will be exposed to sun at least 15 minutes before heading outside. If you think clouds will protect you, you’re wrong. You can still get sunburn when it’s cloudy outside. Also, remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours. Swimming and sweating will dilute it faster.
  5. Don’t go tanning.
    Tans are never safe, whether you acquire them inside or outside. Tanning beds, booths, and sunlamps all expose you to intense UV radiation, which increases your risk of skin cancer. When you’re out on the boat, avoid laying out in the sun just to get some color. Your skin will thank you for staying in the shade.
  6. Get familiar with your skin.
    If you know what’s “normal” for your skin, you’ll notice alarming changes more quickly. Moles, bumps, scaly spots, and color changes are all things to note. Watch moles for changes in texture, size, shape, and color. It’s also important to note uneven edges or if one half is a different color than the other half. Sores or growths that bleed constantly are also cause for concern. Visit a professional if you have any questions or what to get your skin checked.