May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month! It’s the end of season and summer is so close we can taste the popsicles, but did you know that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined?!
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they’re 70, so what can YOU do to prevent becoming a statistic this summer?
Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen.
Sunscreens work by blocking ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from reaching the skin. UVA and UVB damage the skin and cause signs of aging as well as increasing your risk of developing skin cancer. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ or more.
Pick up a cute parasol or sun umbrella, or set up camp under a tree. American summers are hot! Not only will shade help protect your skin, but it will also help prevent heat-stroke and dehydration.
Don’t like the feel of sunscreens? Wear a hat, sunglasses, and a lightweight long-sleeve top to protect your skin—especially between the hours of 11am-4pm.
Your eyes matter, too! Contact-wearers get an additional layer of protection as most contacts these days contain UV protection, but it’s a good idea to put on some big shades to further protect yourself from sun damage.
Stay Out of Tanning Beds
Any history of tanning bed use increases the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma before age 40 by 69 percent.
Know Your Moles
Is it a freckle or a mole? Freckles tend to be flat, while moles generally raise slightly above the skin and tend to be darker in color. Moles can also turn malignant, so keep an eye on any moles that appear to grow, change color, have an irregular outline or suddenly get itchy. All these can be early signs of cancer. It’s a good idea to have your skin checked at your yearly physical, or to seek out a dermatologist if you notice any changes in your skin.
I know you think you look cute with a tan, but is it worth making yourself sick over?