Make Yourself Sun-Proof | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Make Yourself Sun-Proof

“Skin cancer’s a preventable form of cancer because we know that sunlight accounts for nearly 100 per cent of cases,” says Associate Professor Chris Baker, president of the Australasian College of Dermatologists and a specialist at the Skin and Cancer Foundation. True, frequent burns in your youth may have set you up for a skin-cancer diagnosis. “However, there’s good evidence that if you’re careful with sun protection in your adult years, it’s never a lost cause,” reassures Baker.

Expert advice from Associate Professor Chris Baker, MBBS, FACD

1. Read the risk

“My last sunburn was a few years ago. It was a cool day and I didn’t recognise that the sun was as intense as it was. I was playing a bit of tennis and got caught out. I don’t wear sunscreen every day because I’m mostly indoors, going to work first thing and returning at night. The trigger point to use sunscreen or other forms of protection is when the UV index is three or above.”

2. Get checked out

“A couple of times a year I’ll have a good look at my skin in front of a mirror under strong lighting, and my wife will check my back. iPhones and the like are fantastic for keeping track of your moles. Photograph spots you’re concerned about. You’ll get a date-stamped photo and you can use that for comparison. You’re looking out for spots you’ve had for a long time that have suddenly changed.”

3. Keep a lid on it

“If I’m going to be outside this time of the year for more than 10 minutes I’ll make sure I’ve got a hat on. Caps are comfortable but don’t cover the peaks of the ears or the back of your neck, so a broader-brimmed hat is preferable. The fashion of short hair – No.2 and No.3 buzz cuts – is a concern. Men need to be aware that the scalp is an area very prone to sun damage. I see a lot of skin cancer in this area.”

4. D for distraction

“I don’t do anything special to ensure I get enough vitamin D; I just live my life. For men who are healthy and pretty active, we’ll get adequate sun exposure just in the course of day-to-day life. In the warmer months just a few minutes of exposure a couple of times a week to a small patch of skin is enough to keep vitamin D generated.”

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