Here in California’s South Bay, skin cancer levels are among the highest in the country, and it’s no wonder: Southern California is bright and sunny 90% of the time, and we are all sun worshippers! We know you aren’t going to stay away from the beaches or avoid the sun (as if you could!), so we’re sending some tips your way to save your skin–and your good health!
As you probably know, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. Primarily caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, UV radiation also comes from tanning booths. While the good news is that skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early, it’s also true that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer. Remember what Benjamin Franklin said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
8 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Skin Cancer
1. Just Say No: Reduce your sun exposure, especially between peak hours of 11 AM to 4 PM when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
2. Savor the Shade: When sun is highest, park your beach chair under an umbrella or tree. Use clothing to cover arms and legs in the heat of the day and wear a hat with a wide brim to provide some shade for your face and eyes. Here is a Google list of retailers that sell sun protective clothing made of fabric rated for its level of ultraviolet protection.
3. Be Aware: Up to 80% of the sun’s rays penetrate through clouds, mist and fog. That means you can still get a nasty sunburn on a cloudy–or even rainy–day!
4. Remember to Reflect: Sand, concrete surfaces, water or snow can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s most damaging UV rays.
5. Slap on the Sunscreen: Use an SPF of 15 and greater, and make sure it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every 2 hours (more often if you get wet or sweaty). Be sure that you apply sunscreen to the kids when they go outdoors! And, take advantage of this month’s 30% savings on sunscreen products!
6. Stay Away from Tanning Salons: Surprisingly, tanning salon lights emit almost 5 times more UVA radiation than does the sun! (UVA rays contribute to sun-induced skin aging), while UVB rays from tanning lights are a primary cause of skin cancer. If you must be tan, spray it on!
7. Protect Your Eyes: UV radiation increases the risk of cataracts in later years, can cause skin cancer on the eyelids or even the surface of the eyes, and can damage cells inside the eyes. Wear sunglasses that protect against 100% UVA and UVB rays and a hat with a wide brim.
8. Mole Check: If you’re prone to freckles or moles, check monthly to be sure they haven’t changed color, size or shape. See your dermatologist immediately if you see changes.