May is one of the best months of the year – the days get longer, the flowers are blooming, temperatures are increasing, and the skies are finally sunny. If you are like most people, you begin planning for summer fun in the sun during the month of May. This makes May the perfect month for a refresher on Skin Cancer Awareness.
Skin Cancer Awareness Month is a time when skin care professionals and everyday people all over the United States recognize the dangers of skin cancer, and take steps to prevent it. Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Doctors diagnose more than 9,500 people with skin cancer every day, and more than two people die from the disease every hour.
While some people have a higher risk than do others for developing skin cancer, anyone can get it. A number of factors can cause skin cancer, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or from artificial sources is the most common cause.
There are several types of skin cancer. Squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas are the two most common types of skin cancer. Both are curable, but they can be disfiguring and expensive to treat. Melanoma is the third most common type of skin cancer, but it is the most dangerous and deadly.
Tips for Protecting Your Skin from Skin Cancer
Stay in the shade
Avoiding harmful UV rays can help you reduce your risk for skin cancer. The hours between 10 am and 4 pm are the most hazardous for UV exposure, particularly during late spring and early summer.
Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, along with a hat to protect your scalp. Add a pair of sunglasses that blocks UV rays to protect your eyes.
Avoid indoor tanning
Indoor tanning devices can emit 10 to 15 times more UV radiation than does the sun at its peak intensity.
Use sunscreen whenever you go outside
Slathering on sunscreen can reduce your risk of skin cancer. In fact, using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by approximately 40 percent and reduce your risk of melanoma by 50 percent. You must reapply at least every hour, depending on the SPF you use.
For more information on skin cancer and Skin Cancer Awareness Month this May, consult with your skincare professional at Aesthetics, a private boutique at Illinois Eye Center. Our team of skincare specialists can check your skin for signs of skin cancer, recommend high-quality products to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, and provide other tips for reducing your risk of skin cancer.