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Let’s get real about a really preventable thing known as skin cancer. If you’re reading this, you’re at risk. Everyone is at risk. It’s so common, in fact, that nearly 5 million Americans are treated for skin cancer every year according to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. Yes, that probably sounds scary. But on the bright side (no pun intended), it’s preventable. Here are healthy habits to incorporate into your lifestyle to reduce your risk.
Daily sunscreen application is the best way to shield skin-damaging UVA and UVB rays. Your face typically gets the most sun on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean you should skip wearing sunscreen all over. Clothing doesn’t provide enough protection. Look for sunscreen labels that say “broad spectrum” and always wear an SPF 30 or higher.
Honestly, we wish tanning beds were never invented because they’re so damaging to the skin. The worst part is you’re choosing to put yourself at risk of skin cancer when you enclose yourself in that tiny UV-light capsule of doom. We love a good self-tanning lotion, professional spray tan or bronzer powder to get that faux glow instead.
Skin cancer stat: It’s estimated that 1 in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime.
The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you’re spending extended periods of time outside, post up underneath an umbrella, a gazebo or a big tree.
Going on a hike? Hosting a beach bash? Take care to wear lightweight long-sleeved shirts and pants that are breathable and sweat-wicking. We love a good floppy sunhat and encourage you to accessorize with a wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap and sunglasses. Brands like Coolibar and Patagonia even make special UV-protection clothing, swimwear and sun hats. Smart and stylish. Yes, you can have both.
Skin cancer stat: Nearly 90% of melanomas are thought to be caused by over-exposure to natural and artificial UV light.
Early detection is key. And there are a couple of ways to go about doing a quick mole and freckles check. The first way is a self-examination. It requires you to get up close and personal with all the spots and dots on your body. All of them. Here’s a handy cheat sheet so you know what to look for. The second way is to go see your favorite dermatologist for an annual skin cancer screening and mole check.
If you have a balanced diet, chances are you’re already getting enough vitamin D. Fatty fish like tuna and salmon, cheese, egg yolks and foods and drinks infused with vitamin D like cereal, milk and orange juice are all great options. If you think your vitamin D intake is on the lower side, chat with a doctor or dermatologist about taking a vitamin D supplement to help make up for it.
There’s nothing more beautiful than loving the skin you’re in. From pale ivory to deep ebony and every shade in between and beyond, your natural skin tone is already perfect. Society tells us that we need to look a certain way or that our skin needs “color,” but what they fail to mention are the risks associated with obtaining that “sought-after tan look.” We think societal norms are boring anyway.