Working in the aesthetic skin care field I see all too often the effect of summer’s rays and the unhealthful consequences of tanning beds. It’s fair to say that skin cancer has become a hot topic in recent years and awareness has grown.
Current data indicates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer.
A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns at any age. How many of us fall into that category? Yet, despite these startling and increasingly well known facts, we continue to see people not taking the proper precautions sporting an unhealthy tan, or worse yet a sunburn. In addition to the very serious risks of skin cancer, unprotected skin is more likely to show signs of sun damage with sun spots, pigmentation and premature wrinkling.
The cosmetic shelves are packed with products promising treatment of wrinkles but more emphasis needs to be placed on prevention. The following tips from The Skin Cancer Foundation are great rules to follow to help prevent the potential risks of the sun.
• Apply 1 oz (about 2 Tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 20 minutes before going outside.
• Use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 of higher, look for a product with UVA and UVB protection. For extended outdoor time look for products with an SPF 30 or higher.
• Reapply every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or after excessive sweating.
• Take cover during peak sun hours, typically 10 am- 4pm.
• Don’t underestimate the importance of UV blocking clothing, hats and sunglasses. Avoid tanning and tanning booths.
• Be familiar with your skin and all the freckles and moles on it.
• Perform monthly self skin exams and see your doctor annually for a routine skin exam, sooner if something is changing, growing or looks atypical.
Using these recommendations as a guideline will help decrease your risk for skin cancer as well as help your skin keep its youthful appearance and avoid premature wrinkles and aging.
Southgate Skin Center can help treat unwanted fine lines, wrinkles and pigment from sun exposure with our chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy.