| Amanda Herzberg
According to the National Council on Skin Care Prevention, “More people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined.” Yikes! That’s a scary reality. But it’s information like this that can really open our eyes to the importance of using sunscreen (or taking other precautionary measures against sun damage). So in honor of Don't Fry Day, and as we enter into Memorial Day weekend, and the sunny summer months, there are some very important awareness facts to keep in mind as peak UV exposure season approaches.
#1. A Sun Tan is Sun Damage
We all have that friend who thinks he or she is exempt from needing sunscreen because they “don’t burn, they tan.” Well, be sure to break it to them: a sun tan is a sign of sun damage. Despite the warm, attractive glow it might provide, what it actually indicates is that overexposure has occurred. Tanning (both real and artificial) may lead to the appearance of age signs. Plus, with repeated damage, the skin cells become more susceptible to skin cancer.
#2. Both UVA and UVB Rays Are Damaging
UVA rays can prematurely age your skin. These rays can pass through window glass, and so should be protected against at all times. Exposure to these rays may result in wrinkles and age spots. UVB rays are those primarily responsible for sun burn. While they do not pass through window glass, they can contribute to an increased risk of developing skin cancer if the skin is not protected on a consistent basis. How can you ensure you’re protected? Choose a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection--these formulas protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
#3. Cloudy Days Still Require Protection
Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate your skin, which means you’re still at risk of overexposure and sunburn. Moral of the story: use sunscreen every day.
#4. Sunburn Can Increase Your Risk of Skin Cancer
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.” Can you count your sunburns on just one hand? While the occasional burn does happen, it’s important to be aware of the impact a single sunburn may have on your skin health in the long run. If you do get a sunburn, treat it carefully. Apply a moisturizer like aloe or coconut oil to soothe the damaged skin and calm the burn. You may also want to consider a cool bath or shower. If you’re really experiencing pain, pop some ibuprofen for relief. Finally, be sure to avoid additional sun time until you’re completely healed.
#5. Men Are More Likely to Get Skin Cancer
Fewer than 15% of men reported using sunscreen regularly. Plus, men tend to spend more time in the sun. You can do the math—less protection, more exposure—men are at higher risk. So it’s important the guys are aware of the risk, and take appropriate action. Spread the word to the men in your life and help keep them safe this sun season. Remember, it’s never too late to start staying protected.
Now you’re armed with the facts, so be sure to take preventative measures against over exposure—and share the knowledge wealth! Post your favorite fact to Facebook or Twitter, or your channel of choice.
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