Staying Safe in the Maui Sun

November 11, 2010, 4:34 PM HST · Updated November 11, 4:34 PM
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One of the best features of Maui is the abundant sunshine that allows visitors and natives alike to enjoy the glorious outdoor activities the Hawaiian islands have to offer. However, too much time in the sun without proper protection can accelerate the symptoms of aging on the skin and may increase the risk of some types of skin cancer. If you are planning to spend an exorbitant amount of time enjoying the tropical sunshine, there are a few things you should know about keeping your skin safe from harm.

Know Your Risk Factors

While everyone is vulnerable to a degree of sun damage, some are more prone to skin cancer risk than others. The most common risk factors for skin cancer include:

  • Fair skin – less melanin in the skin means less protection from UV rays
  • History of sunburns – each sunburn damages skin cells and ups your risk of skin cancer
  • Sunny areas – places that get a lot of sun, like Hawaii, tend to have a higher incidence of skin cancer overall
  • To much sun exposure – people who work or play in the sun excessively have a higher risk for sun damage and skin cancer
  • Moles or lesions – individuals with lots of moles or pre-cancerous skin lesions are more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer at some time during their life
  • History – both family and personal histories of skin cancer can increase your risk for a skin cancer diagnosis

If you fall into any of these risk factors, it is important to be particularly vigilant about sun exposure and protecting your skin. However, anyone, even those who do not fall into any of these categories, can experience skin damage from too much unprotected sun exposure.

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Protecting Your Skin

There are plenty of ways to protect your skin from harmful UV rays when you are enjoying outdoor activities on the islands. We have a few of the best protection tips here:

  • Use sunscreen – the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum SPF 30 when choosing a sunscreen and reapplication periodically to maintain protection
  • Wear a hat – a hat with a 2-3-inch brim offers protection of the scalp, face and ears
  • Use protective clothing – some manufacturers now make swimsuits and other clothing with UV protection, which should be stated on the tag of the garment
  • Wear sunglasses – your eyes also need protection from UV rays, as well as the delicate skin surrounding the eye area
  • Limit exposure – the sun’s rays are strongest during midday, so if your shadow is shorter than you, limit your sun exposure as much as possible

Proper sun protection is important, whether you are a resident of the islands or simply visiting. With these tips in hand, you can rest assured your time under the Hawaiian sun will be safe and enjoyable.

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