Protect Yourself in the Sun

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US with over 5 million cases diagnosed each year.

Protect Yourself in the Sun

Here we go again.  It’s getting warmer and we’re all trying to get in as much outside time as we can before most of us hibernate for the summer.  Then there’s the hardcore, those that work and play in the sun when the temps get well into the 100s.  For some it’s a choice, for other’s it’s not an option.  If you work and play in the Arizona sun, you know how to do it right…right?

Choose Wisely

The standard recommendations are sun protective hats and clothing in combination with sun screen.  I know…thanks, Captain Obvious.  People come in all the time and ask “What kind of sun protective clothing do you have?”  That’s the equivalent to walking into a gardening nursery and asking what kind of flowers they offer.  Your first choice for desert summer flora most likely wouldn’t be pansies, but probably hyssop or irises (yes, I needed to Google that). 

You need to choose clothing for the environment and type of activity you will be doing.  For instance, our new Mountain Khaki Trail Creek short sleeve shirts would be great for hiking.  They’re moisture wicking, quick to dry and are UPF 40+.  Alternatively, it probably wouldn’t be the best choice for rock climbing.  You’d probably be swatting the hem aside to get to the chalk bag which would become very annoying very fast. 

What is UPF?

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor.  Clothing is evaluated and then rated by how much UV is able to penetrate the fabric.  The Skin Cancer Foundation notes a UPF 50 garment would allow “1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin.” This is done by how the fibers are woven to help prevent the sun from getting through.  The tighter the pattern, the greater the protection.

Check Yourself

No one wants to talk about the “C” word – Cancer, but if you are in the sun extensively, you’re at a higher risk at getting some type of skin cancer.  Preventative measures are a must and there’s really no excuse with the variety of UPF and SPF products that are available.  Many skin cancers can be dealt with early on but detection is key in the process.  Make sure to give yourself a look over on a regular basis and get help with the hard to see places.


Skin Cancer Foundation


National Cancer Institute