With Summer approaching, I know we will all be outside more. You may be poolside, sitting at the ballpark or sneaking in an outdoor workout, this all comes with the enjoyable sunshine! Sunshine has tons of healthy benefits, but every year we need to refresh our memories on the importance of safe sun exposure.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget to reapply the SPF, but it is so ESSENTIAL! May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. As an aesthetic provider, I am highly trained and skilled in evaluating individuals’ skin and it’s my duty to educate. Not only will sun safety help prevent skin cancer, but it will also keep you looking and feeling more youthful.
I don’t share all of this information to scare you, but more so bring awareness to protecting yourself, your children & loved ones! Skin cancer looks different for everyone. It is so vital to be in tune with your skin.
Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is very prevalent and is a form of cancer that is preventable. 1 in every 5 Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. SCARY!! Risk factors for developing skin cancer include, but are not limited to, fair skin, sun exposure and use of tanning beds.
The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. The second most common is squamous cell carcinoma and lastly, melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma is caused from skin that has been exposed to the sun for many years. Common areas for BCC to develop are on the face, head & neck, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it on other parts of your body. People who use tanning beds have a much higher risk of developing SCC, and they also tend to experience it at younger ages.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma can be found anywhere on your body and is the second most common form of skin cancer. Generally, SCC starts as red patches, sores, scabs or rough areas of skin growth.
Melanomas also can appear anywhere on the body, most commonly areas that are exposed to the sun. Melanoma is the most severe and most dangerous form of skin cancer. Early detection is very important! Melanomas can appear in all shapes, colors and sizes. Therefore, mole checks are extremely important in the early detection of skin cancer. There’s an easy acronym to aid in at-home mole checks. ABCDE is the key!
A is for Asymmetry: One half is unlike the other.
B is for Border: Specifically irregularity, scalloped or poorly defined borders.
C is for Color: Variation from one area of the mole to another, shades are typically brown, black, tan, white, red, or even blue.
D is for Diameter: Abnormal moles are usually greater than 6mm in size, which is approximately the same size as a pencil eraser.
E is for Evolving: Meaning the mole or skin lesion looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
If you find any of these characteristics at-home, you need to seek medical advice as soon as possible. It is always SO important to schedule your annual mole checks with your dermatology provider.
Let me tell you, the most important and easiest thing to do to prevent skin cancer is wearing SPF daily and being smart in the sun.
Sunscreen is a topical product that helps protect against sun damage by absorbing or reflecting UV rays. There are two types of UV light to consider: Ultraviolet A (UVA) has a longer wavelength, and is associated with skin aging. Ultraviolet B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength and is associated with skin burning.
While UVB rays are what cause physical sunburns, UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply and are associated with aging. We want to protect our skin from both UVA and UVB rays, which is why it’s super important to look for a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection.”
Without SPF, you’re exposing your skin to an array of preventable and potentially dangerous effects, including fine lines & wrinkles, dark spots, and, most importantly, skin cancer.
It can be very overwhelming when shopping for SPF or knowing what is right to use. We see terms like spf, broad-spectrum, UVA, UVB, water-resistance. All of these are important components of daily protection. Each of them have a purpose & role. SPF stands for sun protection factor. It represents the degree to which it can protect the skin against sunburn. It’s best to choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against all types of sun damage caused by sunlight. UVA rays cause the skin to age. UVB causes the skin to burn. Water-resistant sunscreen stays on the skin longer when the skin is wet or sweaty.
That is why I made it my mission to create a product that was convenient and fit all these categories! RFA UV Spray + Protect. It is a broad-spectrum, SPF 50 hydrating body sunscreen in a convenient spray that is non-aerosol & BPA-free! This lightweight, sweat-resistant formula is enriched with science backed ingredients and antioxidant protection to help protect your skin from future sun damage. It is water-resistant up to 80 minutes and highly effective for active lifestyles and long hours in the sun, which makes it PERFECT for those days at the beach/pool or long hours at the baseball field! Fragrance free, paraben-free, and noncomedogenic. Oil-free and hydrating, which makes it perfect for all skin types! It is eco-friendly and reef safe, too!
As the saying goes, “ A little dab will do ya”… well this is NOT the case when it comes to sunscreen.
Did you know that to properly cover your body with enough sunscreen it takes 1 ounce, that’s 1 full shot glass. And for your face, 1 full teaspoon.
Apply your SPF 15 minutes prior to going outside for full proper absorption. Re-application is so important, you should be applying your sunscreen every 2 hours, after swimming or sweating. Don’t forget your ears, feet, hands & top of your head. And those precious lips, don’t forget them with an SPF lip protectant.
Tips for Summer Sun Safety
- Wear protective clothing, wide brim hats & sunglasses
- Wear at least 30 SPF.
- Find an umbrella
- Find shade during the prime, mid-day hours of intense sunshine.
- Stay hydrated
I want to leave you with a couple important reminders…. You can burn on a cloudy day, NO ONE is immune to skin cancer and WEAR SUNSCREEN!
Be sure to tune into next week’s blog! My sister, Brooke, is going to be sharing her recent story with skin cancer!