Health

Skin Safety

 Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States annually.  

Summer background with hat flip flops sunscreen and sunglasses near the swimming pool

Warm weather can create a longing to be outside and catch some rays, but it is vital to understand what hazards can occur with too much sun exposure. Most people know that excessive sun exposure can cause skin cancer, but ultraviolet rays from the sun and artificial sources like tanning beds can also make our skin age more quickly and lead to wrinkles, as well as dark spots on the face, chest, arms, and hands. Before heading outdoors this summer, you should educate yourself on ways to maintain superior skin health.   

Closer Than You Think: The Real Risks of Skin Cancer 

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States annually.  

  • Skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
  • More than 90% of skin cancers are caused by excessive exposure to the sun, with indoor tanning also emerging as a leading cause of skin cancer.
  • Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, and incidence rates have been increasing over the last 30 years.
  • While it is true that patients with fairer complexions, freckles, or family histories of skin cancer are more at risk, anyone can develop skin cancer.

A common misconception is that you must spend a prolonged time in the sun or get a sunburn to be at risk for skin cancer, however that is just not true. You can be at risk for skin cancer on cloudy days or even simply sitting in your car! That is why it is recommended to wear sunscreen every single day.  

Apply Accordingly: Which Sunscreen Suits You? 

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone, regardless of skin tone, use sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater, and water resistance. 

There are several popular forms of sunscreen, such as creams, gels, ointments, wax sticks, and sprays. Products that require being rubbed into the skin are the preferred; having to rub in the sunscreen ensures you are covering all areas equally and allowing it to penetrate the skin. 

Out of Sun, Out of Mind: Accounting for All Areas 

Skin cancer can form anywhere on the body, even if it is not in direct sunlight. For example, it is common for individuals with darker pigmented skin to get skin cancer on the palms of their hands, feet, and even nails. It is even possible to develop skin cancer in the eyes; so make sure you have your ray protecting sunglasses handy any time you are in the sun. 

Other ways to protect your skin and prevent skin cancer include wearing sun-protective clothing and wide brimmed hats.  

From Hassle to Habit: Long Term Skin Care 

It may seem like a lot of work initially; you might even have to add five minutes to your daily routine to apply sunscreen and grab your sunglasses, but it is worth it. The sooner you start caring for your skin, the better. Most skin cancers, when caught early, can be cured. The few additional moments you spend improving your skin care practices will not only help you age better, but could also save your life. You should also regularly monitor yourself for any changes in moles or newly developed moles.  

As an editor, copywriter, and social media manager at exploreMedia, I work to develop content that is relevant and interesting to our readers and coordinate with contributing writers.

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