Skin is the largest organ of our bodies, and while we see countless advertisements telling us to care for it, a lot of us tend to forget about our skin past the vanity.

It’s not just about keeping wrinkles at bay to stay youthful. Looking after your skin’s health – namely, protecting it from UV damage – is important as well. Because while not directly visible to the naked eye, prolonged and accumulated exposure to UV rays can cause harm and mutation to skin cells, eventually leading to skin cancer.

Here’s how to decrease your chances of getting the disease:

1. Slather on the sunblock, even on cloudy days

prevent skin cancer sunscreen

Myth: there’s no need to put on sunscreen when it’s cloudy or raining

Fact: UV rays can filter through clouds, even dark ones

So long as the sun’s up, your skin is being exposed to cancer-causing UV rays. Even if you’re wearing long-sleeved clothing, the rays can penetrate through the cloth fibres, just like how they do through clouds.

The only time you truly don’t have to wear sunscreen is at night, when the sun’s rays can’t reach you at all!

2. Get a broad spectrum SPF PA+ sunscreen to fight both UVA and UBV rays

Unbeknownst to many, there are different types of UV rays:

UVA rays: penetrate deep into the skin, causing wrinkles and photoageing
UVB rays: burn top layers of the skin

SPF only protects from the latter, while PA+ only protects from the former – so look out for a sunscreen with both. The higher the SPF value and the more “plusses

3. Avoid tanning, whether on UV beds or outdoors

Bad news for those who love that golden glow: lying out on the beach to suntan or going to a tanning salon with UV beds can earn you skin cancer in the long run. Spray tans may be safer in comparison, but can cause irritation due to the chemicals present.

Every color is beautiful, so love the skin you’re in!

4. Get munching on carrots and other bright red-orange veggies

 

Fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene, a red-orange pigment, can help in inhibiting cancer of any sort. So look out for carrots, red peppers, sweet potato, cantaloupes, and other similar-hued items when you’re stocking up on groceries.

Dark green veggies – such as spinach, peas, broccoli and lettuce – are also great sources of beta-carotene.

5. Use a UV-blocking umbrella

prevent skin cancer

Transparent brollies may keep you stylish while guarding you during downpours. But ideally, you should protect yourself on sunny days too – with an opaque, UV-blocking umbrella.

That’s not to say that you have to hide yourself under a shield everywhere you go. But if it’s particularly hot out – or if your daily commute to work requires walking under the scorching sun for a good stretch – it’s worth taking that extra step to keep out those harmful rays.

Note: not all opaque umbrellas are UV-resistant. Remember to check tags before buying.

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