May is National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month, which is a good time for a primer on the sun, the impact of UV on the skin, and skin cancer prevention.
Did you know that…
- Skin cancer (including basal and squamous cell carcinoma as well as melanoma) is the most common form of cancer in the USA.
- Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and can lead to death.
- Skin cancer has a lot to do with cumulative sun exposure and sunburns from childhood. While it is never too late to mitigate your own sun exposure, protecting children from too much sun is key to preventing skin cancer in the long run.
- Skin type is a factor in the occurrence of skin cancer. People with lighter skin tones and light eyes and hair are more likely to suffer from skin cancer.
- The biggest risk factors are sun exposure, as well as tanning salons.
- UV rays can penetrate cloud cover and glass (think grey days and car windows) and reach below the water’s surface.
Here are some ways to protect yourself from the sun:
- Wear a moisturizer with SPF every single day, no matter the season or if you are planning on going outside or not.
- Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses when planning to spend time outdoors.
- During beach vacations, wear a face and body SPF of 50+, make sure it is water resistant, and stay in the shade. Reapply your SPF after each swim, or every two hours, whichever comes first.
- Protect your children with extra SPF as well as SPF-resistant clothing.
And remember, always practice safe sun!