Wanting a little sunshine in your life is understandable; after all, research shows that some Vitamin D can improve your sleep, boost your mood, and more. But while getting out and about is good for your health, the risk of skin cancer still exists. In fact, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime, and melanoma causes nearly 4/5 of skin cancer deaths.
You may think that you’re free from skin cancer risks if you don’t live in a traditionally sun-soaked state like California or Florida. However, the research may surprise you: sunny states like Florida and Texas have some of the lowest risks of skin cancer, despite popular outdoor activities like going to the beach and hiking. Other low-risk states include Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Meanwhile, the states with the highest risks of skin cancer are Vermont, Utah, Washington, and Iowa. These states all have very high fair skin populations, and hiking or walking are the most popular outdoor recreation activities.
Of course, it’s not feasible to live your life completely indoors, surrounded by Netflix and snacks. Instead, protect your skin from skin cancer and melanoma by being smart about sun exposure. Plan your outdoor activities for before 11am or after 4pm to avoid the times when the UV rays are the strongest, and if you have to be outside at the heat of midday, look for shade. When you are outside, cover up with long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and sun protective clothing. Make sure to wear sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF, and learn if melanoma runs in your family, as that might put you at higher risk.
Even as summer comes to a close, the risk of skin cancer and melanoma still exists any time you go outside. By being smart about sun protection, you can prevent skin cancer and melanoma among you and your family members.