How Your Choice of Swimwear Affects Your Skin Cancer Risk

How Your Choice of Swimwear Affects Your Skin Cancer Risk

How much thought do you give to the swimwear you buy? Most people are just concerned about what their swimsuits look like, but what they should be concerned about is whether the suit they choose will help reduce their risk of developing skin cancer. The more sunburns you get, the higher your risk of developing cancer, and the risk goes even higher if those sunburns occur during childhood. However, the swimwear you choose can lower your skin cancer risk effectively if you know exactly what to look for.

You are at greater risk for skin cancer if you are fair-skinned, have freckles, or have a family history of skin cancer. However, everyone can develop skin cancer if they spend too much time in the sun. Being out in the sun feels great, but with the warm sunlight comes ultraviolet radiation, which is the root cause of skin cancer. Two to three million people worldwide develop skin cancer every single year, and Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world.

It is important that you be very selective when it comes to buying swimwear and other summer clothes to wear when you are out in the sun. Traditional swimwear offers a minimal amount of sun protection factor. Even summer clothing like lightweight tee shirts can provide as little as UPF 5. That’s just not enough to protect your skin. The UPF is the ultraviolet protection factor, and like sunscreen, the higher the number, the more protected you are.

Swimwear that provides sun protection is the best way to protect your skin from damage. Specialty swimwear can provide sun protection factor of up to 50+, the highest possible rating. Sun protective swimwear typically covers more of the skin than a traditional swimsuit, in addition to offering better UV protection factor. You can choose from board shorts, rash guards with short or long sleeves, hats, and more. The more skin that is covered regularly by sun protective garments, the lower your risk of skin cancer will be down the road.

One trendy option in sun protective swimwear is the rash guard. Rash guards originated in the surfing industry because surfers always suffered irritation on their chests from coming into contact with surfboard wax. However, more and more beach-goers are wearing rash guards because of how much skin they protect. A rash guard covers the torso and shoulders, and it can even cover the arms and necks, depending on which style you purchase.

You should always wear sunscreen on all parts of your body that are not covered by clothing, but sunscreen has its drawbacks, too. Spray-on sunscreens can be difficult to apply evenly, and all formulas need to be reapplied every few hours. When you go into the water, your sunscreen can wash off and require another application. Even waterproof sunscreen does not provide complete protection against having it wash off, so your best bet for lowering your risk of skin cancer is to wear sun protective clothing.

How Your Choice of Swimwear Affects Your Skin Cancer Risk

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