With Mother's Day come and gone and summer around the corner, one of the first things we start to look forward to is summer sunshine. We crave it, love it and cherish it while we have it. In Wisconsin, it can sometimes feel like seeing sunshine is comparable to seeing a unicorn! While it may seem like it's rare and we want to take advantage, it's also important to be smart and prepared. With May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to share a few things to keep in mind to protect your skin from the harsher side of the summer sun.
We'll start with a few facts about skin cancer from The American Academy of Dermatology that you may not know or are great reminders:
- Skin Cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
- 1 person dies from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, every hour.
- Studies have found a 59% increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning.
- Just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer (melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29%).
- People who tan indoors before they turn 30 are 6 times more likely to get melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer.
- Growing evidence indicates that tanning can be addictive. About 20% of 18- to 30-year-old white women who use indoor tanning show signs of addiction. They find it hard to stop tanning. When they don’t get a steady dose of UV rays, they feel fidgety or depressed.
So where do we go from here? Well, here are some steps to take to lower your chances:
- Sunshine rays are at their strongest from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. so find activities indoors or seek shade during those hours.
- Wear protective clothing if you are going to be outdoors - hats, long sleeve breathable shirts, and sunglasses.
- Apply sunscreen on your kids as well as yourself! Sunshine or clouds, make sure to wear it daily.
- Generously apply sunscreen! Look for broad-spectrum, water-resistant with spf over 15 and under 50. Anything over 50 contains unnecessarily added chemicals and does not provide any extra protection. Broad-spectrum will provide protection to UVA and UVB rays.
- Apply sunscreen daily; every 80 minutes is usually the recommended amount of time depending on the activities outside. Follow the instructions on your sunscreen bottle.
- Apply sunscreen on all exposed skin; that includes top of the head and anywhere there is exposed skin like ears, back of neck, lips, and feet (the most common areas to burn that you forget to apply). One shot glass is a guide of how much you should apply for the full body for an adult.
- Avoid tanning beds AT ALL COST! We provide Sjolie Sunless airbrush spray tans at Spa Western and bronzers that will give you color. We have our LED Bed that help provide the extra benefits many look for with the tanning beds without being harmful to your skin.
- Perform regular skin checks on yourself and visit your dermatologist yearly. If you notice anything that looks different, it's not an overreaction to schedule an appointment. Skin cancer comes in all forms and it's better to be safe than sorry.
A few final notes: no tan is a safe tan. A tan is your body's way of protecting itself. Over time the injuries to your skin weaken its ability to protect itself, resulting in premature aging, hyperpigmentation (age spots/brown spots), increased sensitivity, and increase your risk for skin cancer, including melanoma.
To learn more about skin cancer and how to protect yourself, CLICK HERE.
If you're needing to shop for sunscreen, no need to look any further than Spa Western! We have your sun needs all taken care of with our variety of Epicuren sun protection. If you have any other questions please stop in and Danielle and I can answer all of your questions!