May was skin cancer awareness month, but you should be taking care of your skin every month, especially in the summer when you’re spending more time in the sun! Keep reading to learn more about how you can protect your skin and detect signs of damage.
The importance of sunscreen
Anyone can get skin cancer, therefor, everyone should wear sunscreen regardless of age or skin tone! About 15 minutes prior to sun exposure, you should apply a generous amount of sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and reapply every few hours. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays could be penetrating your skin! The sun is at its strongest from 10am to 4pm, so seek shade during these hours if you can.
Why are tanning beds so bad?
Tanning beds can be tempting, especially when you want to extend your summer tan through the winter months. However tanning beds greatly increase your risk of skin damage, brown spots, laxity, wrinkles, and skin cancer! According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, those who use a tanning bed before the age of 35 increase their risk of melanoma by 75 percent. Having bronzed skin is not worth the risk, instead, opt for a spray tan or self-tanning lotion.
Check for signs of skin cancer
Chances are, you’ve developed some form of skin damage in your lifetime that puts you at risk for skin cancer. While skin cancer is common, treatment has a very high success rate! It’s important to catch it early to ensure successful treatment with the least invasion. You should examine your skin for any new or changing spots or moles. Most moles are harmless, but if any look irregular in shape, color, or size or become painful or itchy, you should have them checked by a medical professional! Regular professional skin exams are important to check hard-to-see places like your back, neck, and scalp.