Keep Skin Cancer Away
May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer detection and prevention month, which means it’s time to see your doctor or dermatologist for your annual screening. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers – and the most preventable. Thanks to my aesthetician who does my monthly facials, my small skin cancer was identified early and removed. Your spa service providers may be the best person to check your face and body each month. Your aesthetician will notice if you have any irregular skin on your face, and your massage therapist can keep a check on those moles on your back. Of course, they are not qualified to diagnose and treat, but they do see your skin on a regular basis and they can notify you when you should get it checked out further.
More than one million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. Most skin cancers are highly curable, but one form, malignant melanoma, is much more serious and has increased more than 100% since 1973, according to the American Cancer Society.
Overexposure to the sun is the number one skin cancer risk factor. And while this is a fairly well-known fact, many people still don’t protect themselves from either natural ultraviolet (UV) radiation or artificial UV radiation, like that from a tanning bed. It is known that people exposed to these sources will have an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
The fairer your skin, the greater your risk of getting skin cancer. If you freckle or burn in the sun, you are at the highest risk. Still, people of all skin colors can develop skin cancer over time.
A must-have this summer! The EPA states that wearing a hat and sunscreen is an inexpensive and effective way to prevent damage from the sun. You may want to check out the Physician Endorsed™ brand based in Broomfield, CO. Physician Endorsed is a cutting edge hat and accessories design company helping consumers be both fashionable and safe in the sun. Product lines include hats, sunglasses, and bags, and all hats include complimentary sunscreen and a photo tag illustrating how the hat should be worn. Hats are constructed with chemical-free fabrics and special interlinings to ensure that the customer receives the highest quality products, and they have a UPF rating of 50+ (equivalent to SPF 30). Fabrics are chosen for their tactile and visual appeal, allowing wearers to fashionably enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about sun damage and wrinkles. Physician Endorsed products are available at Nordstrom and fine boutiques and spas everywhere. Please visit their website to find a location near you. Their website is http://www.physicianendorsed.com.
Here are a few tips on how you can protect yourself from the sun during outdoor summer activities. Hailing from South Florida, he has year-round experience dealing with the problems caused by sun exposure:
1. Avoid unnecessary sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., the sun’s peak hours.
2. Make sure to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and make sure to apply it at least 15 minutes before going outdoors. It should be reapplied every two to three hours and after going swimming or participating in activities where you may sweat excessively.
3. Men are notorious for not wanting to wear sunscreen because they don’t like the way it feels, or they perceive it to be greasy. For both men and women who fall into these categories, sprays or gels can be utilized. The higher alcohol content in these products is often more tolerable than creams or lotions.
4. Apply sunscreen even if you’re wearing makeup with sun protection. Studies show that a foundation’s sun protective value lasts only about two hours.
5. The so-called “physical blockers” such as zinc and titanium tend to offer the best protection against both UVB and UVA, the forms of solar radiation that damage skin the most. While many people think these types of creams as white and pasty, zinc and titanium can now be found in sunscreens that go on clear.
6. Wear wraparound sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection. Try to stay away from mirrored sunglasses because they intensify the sun’s rays which can ultimately damage your eyes.
7. Clothing provides very little protection from extended stays in the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology provides information on its Web site for obtaining semi-stylish clothing which confers an SPF of 30 or greater. This is great for boaters, anglers, or individuals with a history of multiple skin cancers. Also, rash guards, (neoprene garments were worn by surfers), can be an excellent means of sun protection, especially for patients who are outdoors in the water for extended periods.
8. Some prescription medications, such as acne treatments and birth control pills, increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. If you’re taking these medications, increase your sun protection.
Ask your favorite spa for their sun protection product recommendations for your skin:
Some of my favorite products:
Jane Iredale: Loose and Pressed Mineral Powders have an SPF of 18 and 20
Skinceuticals: Sunscreens provide true broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
Dermalogica: Solar defense booster SPF30 which will add full-spectrum protection to your moisturizer or foundation by mixing equal parts, or use alone for an SPF30