With over a million cases of skin cancer reported in Australia in 2015, the disease has become one of the leading causes of death in the country. In fact, almost 50,000 skin cancer-related deaths are expected this year alone. In almost all of these skin cancer cases, about 95% to 99%, are due to sun exposure.
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet or UV rays from the sun or tanning beds causes DNA damage to the skin, which can result in abnormal cell growth, which characterises skin cancer. The paler you are, the more vulnerable you are to these harmful UV rays. Since a majority of Australia’s population are of European descent, they are more at risk of developing skin cancer under the hot Australian sun.
The Skin Cancer Foundation—an organisation based in New York—recommends topical sun protection products like sunscreens, as well as various accessories to help protect the skin from exposure to harmful UV rays. Here are just some examples of these items you can wear while working or playing under the sun.
Protective Rashies and Rash Vests
It’s only fitting the one of the best accessories for sun protection originates from Australia, where skin cancer is prevalent. Rashies or rash vests are sports shirts made from stretchable fabric and often used in water activities such as surfing, scuba diving, and windsurfing. It’s come a long way from the standard, boring black to more colorful and fashionable options. In fact, women’s rashies can be paired with a bikini bottom for that sexy look that still has sun protection in mind. Just make sure to wear sunscreen on your legs and feet.
Dermatologists recommend wearing a hat on sunny days to serve as backup protection in case you forget to reapply sunscreen on your face. Indeed, most people are unaware that sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2 hours or after swimming. To provide adequate shade on your face, wide-brim hats and shade caps are the most recommended styles.
Shading your eyes from the sun is incredibly important not just to prevent skin cancer but also diseases of the eyes like cataracts and macular degeneration. High-quality sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays are recommended even when it’s cloudy outside, since most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can still penetrate any cloud cover, no matter how thick it may be.
Whether you’re working in your garden, exploring trails on your bike, or just jogging in the morning, it’s a good idea to protect your arms with a pair of arm sleeves. Good-quality arm sleeves for sun protection are usually made from moisture-wicking fabric to keep your arms dry and cool. They also come in a variety of colors and designs to match or complement your outfit.
Sun blankets are versatile accessories that you can take with you on a long car ride to protect your legs. At the beach, you can use it as a cover when there’s no available shade. Choose one that is made of special UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) fabric, which can filter most UV rays, with only 2% left to penetrate.
While using umbrellas against the hot sun has generally fallen out of fashion in Australia, it’s still an option when the sun gets too hot. New generation umbrellas now come with special UPF protection that filters UV rays, offering incredible protection against the sun.
Scarves and Bandanas
With the proliferation of sun blocking fabrics, you can find accessories like scarves and bandanas with UPF50+ rating. Scarves are especially effective in blocking most of the UV-rays of the sun as you can cover your head and neck from exposure. Bandanas, on the other hand, add stylish but limited coverage.
Sun protection is a serious matter in Australia with 2 out of 3 citizens predicted to be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before they turn 70. As such, you should remember to apply sunscreen and wear these accessories when going to the beach or anywhere where there’s no shade. Remember, it’s better to prevent skin cancer with simple dos and don’ts than to suffer through painful skin cancer treatment.