Sun Safety Tips from a Melanoma Survivor Living in Arizona
The 4th of July has come and gone which means it’s officially summertime! AKA time to whip out the swimsuits, booze, and grilling tools because it’s pool party season. Well, at least it is for most Arizona residents.
Living in one of the sunniest states in America can be quite challenging for a stage IV melanoma survivor. Phoenix is often nicknamed the melanoma capital of the country with over 296 days of sunshine in a given year. That’s a lot of sun! Although I’ve lived here my entire life, I don’t really share the same excitement for summer that my peers do. Lathering up for a pool party is nearly a chore. Not to mention, spending time soaking up the one thing that nearly killed me is a bit of a mood killer.
What sun protection looks like after melanoma
Since moving to somewhere darker and less sunny is out of the question, I thought I’d share a few of my personal sun safety tips and suggestions.
Avoid the most intense part of the day
Try not to go outside from 10am to 4pm as this is when the UV rays are the most intense. Personally, I plan most of my outdoor activities (yard work, dog walks, exercising, etc.) in early mornings to try to avoid as much sun exposure as possible.
Find all the shade
If you decide to go outside, some good shade sure goes a long way. Hats and umbrellas are great ways of creating shade. (Side note: you should see just how many umbrellas my dad put in their backyard oasis last summer. I didn’t think it was possible to shade the entire pool, but somehow he figured it out. It’s almost as if the sun tried to kill his daughter or something).
Put on sunscreen
I feel silly even writing this one because it should be so obvious. But if you’re planning on going outside, just put some dang sunscreen on! It’s not that hard. I actually put sunscreen on every day whether or not I’m spending time outside. I’ve found if you integrate it into your daily routine, it’s a lot easier to remember. A few of my favorites are Supergoop, Neutrogena mineral sunscreen and Sun Bum products.
Don’t forget to reapply
This is the most important part of applying sunscreen - REAPPLYING! Most people forget this step and are confused why they got sunburned when they wore sunscreen. Most likely they were outside too long without reapplication. Sunzee makes a great wearable product that makes reapplying easy and convenient.
Purchase some UV protection clothing
This is something new that I’ve started to do and I love it! I feel less exposed to the dangerous UV rays and I’ve learned that long-sleeved UPF clothing isn’t that hot. Coolibar and Free Fly Apparel make some great options. They tend to be a little on the pricey side, but I think it’s worth it if you have some outdoor activities and want some extra protection.
Share your suggestions with me! I love trying new sun safety tips, so I’d love to hear your favorite sunscreens and other sun protection tools.
What type of skin cancer were you diagnosed with? (Select all that apply)