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Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Prevention is Key!

Last updated by Yauni Smith on

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. 3.3 million Americans are diagnosed with basal or squamous skin cancer every year. While this number is high, skin cancer is preventable and treatable when early signs are detected.

As part of skin cancer awareness month, we’ll highlight facts, prevention tips, and UV hats that can ensure you protect your family’s skin from the harmful rays of the sun. By following skin cancer prevention tips, you can reduce your probability of getting skin cancer by 48%.

Why is Skin Cancer Awareness Important?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer people get worldwide, but it is also the most preventable. More than half of cancers can be prevented through behavioral changes, medications, and vaccines. And while many skin cancers are treatable, the best defense against skin cancer is preventive behaviors and early detection from screenings.

The more aware the population is about the effects of the sun and UV exposure, the more likely they will take preventive measures to ensure they protect their skin and reduce sun/UV damage. This will reduce their chances of developing skin cancer and help them to detect early signs of skin cancer that are easier to treat.

Want a great-looking sun hat to protect you from UV rays? Shop our best-selling men’s hats.

Related Link: Best Sun Hats for Hiking and Outdoor Adventures 

Image of girl walking on beach caring a surfboard wearing the Roxy Wide Brim Straw Sun Hat by American Hat Makers

Skin Cancer Facts You Need to Know

Sobering skin cancer facts every person should know to help them realize the benefits of protecting your skin from UV exposure:

  • One in five US citizens will get skin cancer by age 70.
  • 90% of skin cancers are from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) from the sun.
  • 3.6 million people are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in the US annually.
  • 1.8 million Americans are diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma each year.
  • Two people die of skin cancer every hour in the US. 
  • If you have five or more sunburns, your risk of developing melanoma doubles. 
  • In the past decade, invasive melanoma cases have increased by 27%.
  • If melanoma is detected early, you have a 99% of survival. 
  • 58 million Americans have actinic keratosis, the most common precancer. 
  • The US spends $8.1 billion treating skin cancer annually. 
  • Diagnosis and treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer increased by 77% from 1994 to 2014.
  • Using an sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher every day reduces your risk of developing skin cancer by 40%.

Why is Skin Cancer So Common Now?

The American Academy of Dermatology found that skin cancer is more common for several reasons:

  • Our science and medicine are more advanced, making it easier to detect skin cancer earlier than previously diagnosed. 
  • Increased sun exposure from spending more time outdoors without proper sun protection.
  • Increased popularity and normalization of visiting tanning beds to darken one’s skin. 20% of young adults regularly go to tanning beds that emit concentrated UV radiation directly to the skin.
  • Depletion of the ozone layer makes the sun’s UV rays stronger, enabling people to burn their skin more quickly from sun exposure.

How to Prevent Skin Cancer

Obviously, prevention is key to reducing your risk of skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a comprehensive approach to protecting your skin. To prevent skin cancer, you should: 

  • Wear protective clothing that covers your skin, such as long-sleeved shirts and hats.
  • Use an SPF 30 or more sunscreen every day and reapply sunscreen every two hours when you’re outdoors.
  • Stay in the shade during the sun’s peak hours which are between 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Don’t go to tanning beds—that sun-kissed glow isn’t worth the increased risk of cancer.
  • Perform skin self-examinations regularly to identify any new or changing moles or sun spots.
  • Get skin cancer screenings from your dermatologist annually.
  • Protect your eyes from UV radiation by wearing sunglasses outside.
  • Drink lots of water to hydrate your skin.
  • Check labels for skin sensitivity on your medications.
  • Be aware of your skin type’s sun sensitivity. People with fair skin and light-colored eyes have a higher risk for skin cancer.

Additional Prevention Tips The CDC Recommends to Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following to reduce your risk of skin cancer: 

  • Be aware of and check the UV index. If it is over a 3, use sun safety when outside. Your phone’s weather app will often list the UV index.
  • Practice sun safety when the sun is at its peak between 10 am and 4 pm. This includes wearing protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • Avoid indoor tanning beds. Seriously, no good can come from them.
  • Stay informed about other ways you can protect your skin from your dermatologist.

How Hats Can Protect Your Skin from Skin Cancer

Wearing a hat is a simple way to protect your skin and practice sun safety. A hat provides several benefits in protecting your skin:

  • Provides shade to sensitive areas such as your face, neck, ears, and scalp.
  • Reduces the risk of sunburn, skin damage, and premature aging by protecting your skin against harmful UV rays.
  • Lowers the risk of skin cancer by reducing your skin’s exposure to prolonged UV rays from the sun.

Need a great sun hat to keep you protected this summer? Shop our best-selling sun hats.

Related Link: Best Sun Hats for Men: Find Wide Brim Sun Hat Protection 

Image of a women sitting in the sand wearing an oatmeal colored bikini and matching sarong with the Savanah Straw Hat by American Hat Makers

What Are the Best Hats to Avoid Skin Cancer?

When buying a hat to protect your skin, you need to make sure the hat covers or shades the most skin the hat covers and actually blocks the sun. This is important because some hats do not block the sun. So look for UPF protection on the label or product description when you buy a new hat.

You should also consider the material, size, and style of the hat when looking for sun protection. Lightweight and breathable fabrics, such as cotton, straw, or linen, make comfortable hats to wear in the heat.

That said, these are the best hats to fortify your skin from the sun’s UV rays: 

  1. Wide-brimmed hats: Wide-brimmed hats offer the most coverage for your face, neck, and ears. 
  2. Sun hats: Sun hats are made specifically to protect your head and neck while being out in the hot sun. These are generally very breathable hats that are ideal for outdoor activities.
  3. UPF hats: Some hats are made specifically of UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) fabric—specially designed to block UV radiation with a UPF rating of 50 or higher.
  4. Bucket hats: Bucket hats are another great option because the brim circles the entire head, covering your face, neck, and ears. 
  5. Fedoras: Fedoras have a nice brim that also circles your entire head, protecting your skin.
  6. Cowboy hats: Cowboy hats that have a wide brim are ideal for working outdoors. There’s a reason ranchers love them because they’re breathable and sun protective.
  7. Baseball caps: Baseball caps can provide some protection for your face and scalp, especially if they have a long bill.
Related Link: Best Golf Hats for Sun Protection and More

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  • Great info

    clair gardner on

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