Play It Safe in the Sun
by Ann E. Boehler
If you are an outdoor athlete, spring weather may mean that it is time to start taking sun protection more seriously. The sun can cause harm to your skin even when the temperature is low.
With a few simple tips, you can enjoy outdoor workouts without sacrificing your skin or your overall health.
Skin Cancer: the Basics
Most skin cancers can be prevented. Most can also be cured if they are found early.
You should check your own skin once a month and see your doctor once a year for a full skin exam.
The risk of skin cancer is higher in people with:
Anyone can get skin cancer, even people with dark skin. Greater amounts of melanin in the skin offer natural protection. But family history, ethnicity, and skin cancers that are not caused by UV rays can still put people with dark skin at risk. Dark skinned people are also more likely to get a type of skin cancer that affects the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Be Sun Smart
There are steps you can take to protect your skin.
Avoid the sun between 10 am and 2 pm.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
Wear long sleeves and long pants.
Protect your ears, nose, cheeks, and hands.
Do not skip the lips.
Applying Sunscreen and Keeping It On
Apply it early.
Choose water-resistant formulas.
It Is Not Just the Sun
There are other factors that increase the sun's rays, such as:
Clouds and Haze
If you still get a sunburn, follow these tips:
Get out of the sun
Take a bath.
Seek medical care.
American Academy of Dermatology
American Cancer Society
Canadian Cancer Society
Canadian Dermatology Association
Ask the expert: Can darker-skinned people get skin cancer? Skin Cancer Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed July 5, 2021.
Ask the expert: What will help me feel less nervous about my lip cancer. Skin Cancer Foundation website. Available at: https://www.skincancer.org/blog/ask-the-expert-what-will-help-me-feel-less-nervous-about-my-lip-cancer. Accessed July 5, 2021.
Basal cell carcinoma of the skin. EBSCO Dynamed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/basal-cell-carcinoma-of-the-skin. Accessed July 5, 2021.
Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. EBSCO Dynamed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cutaneous-squamous-cell-carcinoma. Accessed July 5, 2021.
Melanoma. EBSCO Dynamed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/melanoma. Accessed July 5, 2021.
Sunburn and your skin. Skin Cancer Foundation website. Available at: https://www.skincancer.org/risk-factors/sunburn. Accessed July 5, 2021.
Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: aad.org/public/everyday-care/sun-protection/sunscreen-patients/sunscreen-faqs. Accessed July 5, 2021.
Winter sun safety: What to know about protecting yourself during colder months. Skin Cancer Foundation website. Available at: https://www.skincancer.org/press/2018-winter-sun-safety. Accessed July 5, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 7/5/2021
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