Summer Sun And Skin Cancer

"Americans are being diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, at steadily spiraling rates."
Skin Cancer, Melanoma

The heat is on. Summer is in full swing and the sun is blazing hot. We are enjoying it to the fullest before the end of the season which is marked by Labor Day, the first Monday in September.  As you enjoy the beautiful days of summer, be mindful of the damage the sun can cause to your skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one person dies of skin cancer every hour. Everyone needs to be mindful of the harmful rays from the sun.  It is nice to get that beautiful tanned face and body, but prolonged exposure to the sun will damage the skin, cause premature wrinkles, facial brown spots, skin discoloration and the most dangerous of all is melanoma. During your times between 10 am and 3 pm the sun is at the strongest because of the ultra violet B rays.  The ultra violet B rays can cause sunburn which will cause skin cancer to develop. If you are out in the sun during these times, a heavy dose of sunscreen needs to be on your face and body to shield you from the harmful ultraviolet rays.

Skin cancer rates are on the rise because most people are not using the proper methods to shield their bodies. Nearly 90,000 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed in the USA and nearly 10,000 are expected to die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society this year.  This disease is a very common cancer in young adults.

How can we protect ourselves you might ask?   Well, to help your skin survive the summer sun, you need to protect your face and body with the right sun screen.  If you are going out to the pool and beach, or biking, camping, or even just enjoying yourself at one of those summer barbecues in the backyard, make sure you protect your skin from the summer sun’s harmful rays.

Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and UVA and UVB protection. You need to reapply every two hours.

If your sunscreen has expired, don’t use it. Most sunscreens are good for up to three years.

Apply sunscreen to your face and body at least 15 minutes before going outside.

Limit the time you expose your skin to the sun especially between 10 am and 3 pm when the sun rays are strongest.

Apply sunscreen every day even when it is cloudy. Sunscreen is only effective if you apply it correctly to the face and body. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen, at least one ounce (a handful) to evenly cover the entire body. Always apply it to your neck, face, ears, and tops of your feet.  If you have thinning hair, apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a hat.

Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin. Always perform a skin examination once a month.  If you spot any abnormalities to your skin, consult your physician or dermatologist. My favorite sunscreen products are Kiehl’s with SPF 50.

Avoid recreational sunbathing. Wear a wide brimmed hat, not a baseball cap to protect your neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.

Cover up. Wear lightly woven clothing that blocks light or new lines of lightweight clothing made from UV-blocking fabrics.

Wear UV-absorbent shades that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.

Stay hydrated: Drink before you feel thirsty and drink water instead of sugary beverages.  Also, try adding high water content fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, celery, and cucumbers to your meals.

During the summer months, indulge in eating lots of water melon also. I protect my skin to the fullest from the harmful rays. People of color need to protect themselves equally as well.  Seek out products that protect your face and body and enjoy the summer.

Healthy Living

Sr. Contributor: Beverly is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition/SUNY Purchase as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Beverly practices a holistic approach to health and wellness... and is a Vegan. Change your diet Change your life.