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Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer when Gardening

Cover up before going out.  Protect your skin from Ultraviolet radiation as you get out and garden. 

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  And since gardeners, like our plants, enjoy the outdoors we need to be aware of the risk.  Fortunately, this is a cancer we can help prevent with a few simple precautions.

Wear a wide brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses.  Cover up your skin with brightly colored clothing made of densely woven fabrics. 

Apply a broad spectrum UVA & UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.  Apply it 30 minutes before going outdoors to garden and every two hours.  You’ll prevent sunburn and skin damage while making it easier to return to the garden each day.

Do a monthly skin exam from head to toe and follow up with your physician if you see any suspicious changes.  And consider seeing a dermatologist, like I do, on a regular basis.

A bit more information: Consider gardening in the morning or late afternoon to reduce your exposure to the sun.  The Skin Cancer Foundation shares this tip “if your shadow is shorter than your are, the sun’s harmful UV radiation is stronger, if your shadow is longer, UV radiation is less intense.”  Visit their website for more tips on keeping your skin healthy as you garden throughout the year. 

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