Skin cancer is a topic near and dear to my heart having had it 3 times now.
With summer rapidly approaching and more time being spent in the sun, I want to make sure you have some tools to combat skin cancer which is the most common cancer with over five million cases diagnosed every year in the United States.
More than 85 percent of non-melanoma and melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Luckily there are things you can do to prevent skin cancer and I am going to share them with you!
I heard so many stories as a kid about how if you get sunburned in your childhood you were more likely to get skin cancer and there was nothing you could do about it now.
After years of blistering sunburns and terrifying articles in Times Magazine (I once read an article about a man who had to have his nose cut off due to skin cancer!) I am happy to report that there are still things you can do to protect yourself.
First and fore most you want to be careful about unprotected exposure to the sun.
If you can, limit your time out in the sun during peak sunlight hours which are between 11 am and 2pm.
If you are going to be in the direct sun during those hours, be sure to wear protective clothing. Now you can get clothing that blocks the sun equivalent to wearing SPF 50. Be sure to wear a hat and sit in the shade if at all possible.
Always wear sunscreen even if you do not regularly burn.
Sunscreen will not totally prevent you from sunburn. The SPF# lets you know what percentage of UVB rays (which are the sun’s burning rays) the sunscreen blocks.
The higher the SPF the more UVB rays it will block but it is not proportional. SPF 15 will block 93% of UVB rays while SPF 50 will block 98%.
Plus, the protection tends to break down after a period of time so it is important to reapply every 2 hours.
There are two types of sunscreen: physical blockers and chemical blockers.
Physical blockers contain zinc and titanium oxide (the ingredients that make it look white on your skin) which are natural minerals that block UV rays of the sun.
Chemical Blockers scatter the UV light and include a combo of 2 to 6 ingredients including oxybezone, avobenzone, octocrylene, and octinoxate.
Another way to help your body resist UV exposure is through eating a diet rich in carotenoids.
What the heck are carotenoids?
Carotenoids are strong antioxidants that are found in fruits and vegetables. Yay! Yet another reason to increase your fruit and vegetable intake.
“Caretonoids from our diet…create an antioxidant reservoir in our skin increasing skin’s natural resilience and balancing skin response to environmental challenges such as UV” ~Dr. Karin Hermoni, PhD
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month so I wanted to make you aware of the risks and give you some tools and tips to protect yourself.
- Stay out of the sun during the peak hours of 11am – 2pm
- Wear protective clothing and sit in the shade if possible
- Use Sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours
- Eat your fruits and vegetables
As long as you stay vigilant there is no reason why you can’t enjoy the outdoors and the sunny summer weather and still prevent sunburns. Have fun!