Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MAY 2015 Skin Cancer Awareness Month

MAY is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that I was a licensed esthetician (aka skin care professional) in Florida and when I graduate from beauty school I'll be licensed in North Carolina as well. Did you also know that May is skin cancer awareness month? 

There is a lot of scary information out there on the inter-web about the cases serious skin cancer and related deaths. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and every year the numbers go up and up.

The problem however, isn't that we don't know that we should be protecting our skin it's the fact that skin cancer typically happens when we are much older. And because skin cancer can arise from skin that has been damaged years and years prior, it becomes a out of sight - out of mind situation.


Practicing good skincare at every age will reduce your chances of developing skin cancer. But, prevention should start as early as possible. 

The moment our fresh new skin as babies becomes exposed to sunshine, we automatically start absorbing skin damaging UV rays. It's important to maintain healthy skin and use broadband SPFs.


What had originally been thought to have been a soccer injury was later to be revealed an aggressive form of melanoma (skin cancer) that caused the untimely death of reggae artist Bob Marley at the age of 36.

Here's the thing, caucasions are more at risk because melanin, the cells that determine skin color, are lighter. "Melanin helps protect the skin against effects of the sun such as skin cancers and premature aging. In African American skin, melanin provides a sun protection factor (SPF) approximately equivalent to 13.4, compared to 3.4 in white skin.6-8 This discrepancy illustrates why skin cancer is more prevalent in Caucasian people; it is, in fact, the most common type of malignancy in the US among Caucasians." (resourced here)

What this means is every shade of skin should take sun protection seriously.


The SPF number on a bottle of sunblock is equivalent to the amount of time estimated that the product will keep you from burning. For example, if it typically takes 15 minutes for you to burn without any protection in full sun then you could wear an SPF 15 and be protected for 15 minutes. 

Don't assume, however, that wearing a higher SPF keep your skin more protected than wearing a lower SPF. According to Dr. James Spencer, A Florida dermatologist, "an SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays." -WebMD.
Today many skincare and cosmetic products contain an SPF between 15 and 30, most of these products are either moisturizers or foundations.  So getting the proper some protection at least in the beginning of your day is easy because it doesn't require you to apply multiple products. 
However, all SPF products have a time limit, including sunblock, and so it is incredibly important that you reapply often when you know you will be out in the sun pass the time the product was originally applied. SPF 30 and in moisturizer and SPF 15 in a foundation are perfect for the ride to work. 
Did'ja know? Did you know that you should apply sunblock to your skin at least 30 minutes before you go outside?  Here's a tip when applying; when massaging the lotions into your skin, press them as well to help your pores really absorb the sunblock as well.             

But on a daily basis, what about the rest of your visible skin. Wearing clothes on the majority of our bodies means we are mostly protected when it comes to exposure to the sun. But for things like the back of my neck,  our arms, and hands they typically aren't as protected as the rest of our body.

I recommend that once you get out of the shower and are dried off, apply an SPF 30 body lotion. Keep a bottle in your purse or backpack and reapply throughout the day to keep your skin moisturized and protected.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, let me know. What ways are you and your family going to limit your exposure to the sun?  Have you ever had a skin cancer scare?

This article was inspired by an article in Day Spa Magazine, read it here.


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