Skin cancer often gets dismissed but must not be overlooked as millions of cases of skin cancer are being diagnosed and treated each year. The numbers say it all:
1 in 5 Americans are at risk for developing skin cancer over their lifetime, with ½ of those living to 65 years old being diagnosed with basal and squamous cell skin cancer.
Many cases of skin cancer can be prevented as sunscreen with a SPF 30 or more has the ability to block 97% of UV rays and prevent melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.
In 2019, there were approximately 7,200 deaths due to melanoma.
There is no such thing as safe-tanning! Indoor tanners (tanning salon goers) have a 60% increase risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.
You can’t start too young – Starting sun protection before the age of 18 can prevent 78% of some skin cancers.
How to Protect Yourself
To protect yourself from the sun’s damaging UV rays, avoiding sun exposure is the best line of defense. But, if you must go out in the sun, we recommend the following:
- Avoid going outdoors during peak sunshine hours (10 a.m. - 4 p.m.).
- Stay in the shade if at all possible or use an umbrella to create your own.
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours with outdoor activity, swimming, and perspiration.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Wear oversized sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection for your eyes as well as the delicate the eye contour.
- Wear sun protective clothing (look those with a high UPF factor).
When asked which skincare product is the most important one to use, most dermatologists say sunscreen is the number 1 skin care product not to be missed. But which SPF to choose?
A SPF rating, or number, indicates how long you can be out in the sun before burning. A SPF of 30 is the recommended minimum, as that means you can be exposed to the sun 30 times longer without burning than if you neglected to apply sunscreen. So, why not go ahead and use the “more is better” philosophy and use a SPF 50? Using a SPF of 50 is something that is debated as this higher rating gives people a false sense of protection, causing many to skip reapplication.
However, more is better when it comes to how much to use. It may seem like a lot but, 2 Tablespoons is the suggested amount to apply 30 minutes before heading outside for maximum results.
For truly healthy, protected skin, dermatologists recommend that daily face care at home begins with a gentle cleanser followed by the use of moisturizer or a simple skin cream to seal in moisture.
If you want to give your skin added protection, an antioxidant cream with vitamin C is another great skin care solution to give you added defense against damaging free radicals. Some studies show that green tea extract, another excellent skin care ingredient, may also protect you from skin cancer.
Remember if you don’t have a M.D. after your name, please don’t self-diagnose!
Livewell.org John Stoddard Cancer Center, Des Moines, May 2, 2019
“25 Skin Cancer Facts that will Make You Never Forget to Wear Sunscreen Again”
Radiance By Web MD “Choosing Skin Care Products: Know Your Ingredients”
AAD.org American Academy of Dermatology, “Skin Cancer”
American Academy of Dermatology Article References:
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