As we head into the warm summer season, it’s important to address and remind everyone of the importance of proper sun protection.  May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  In this post we will break down some important skin cancer statistics and how to properly protect your skin from the damaging UV Rays.

Skin Cancer Statistics

Skin cancers are formed from abnormal cells growing out of control in the outer most layers of the skin.  There are three main types of skin cancers- Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma. The good news is if skin cancer is detected early it can be treated and removed successfully.

The two main causes of skin cancer are exposure to the sun’s harmful UV Rays and the use of tanning beds.  Did you know that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the US every year than every other cancer combined?  By the age of 70, 1 in 5 Americans will have been diagnosed with some form of skin cancer, with approximately 9500 diagnosed cases every day. One in door tanning session can increase your chance of melanoma by 75%.  Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma, however, with early detection the 5 year survival rate for melanoma is 99%.  So, get checked and pay attention to any lesions, lumps or bumps that look suspicious or are changing.

Protection

The best defense against skin cancer is protection.  There is no safe way to tan your skin.  Exposure to UV rays damages the skin’s cells and  speeds up visible signs of aging and can lead to skin cancer. Contrary to what most people think, tanning beds are not safer on your skin than the outside rays.  In fact, they are more dangerous.

The best form of protection is to stay out of direct contact with UV Rays.  However, we know that isn’t always possible, so here are a few tips to help you stay as protected as possible.

  • Avoid sun exposure between the hours of 8am and 2pm.  The sun is strongest at these times and the powerful rays will damage and burn your skin more.
  • Wear protective clothing and hats.  There are many options of UV protected clothing on the market today.  They are typically breathable and comfortable and do a great job at protecting otherwise exposed skin.
  • Always wear an SPF of 30 or higher.  Face and body- don’t forget your ears and hands as these areas are often forgotten.  SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is often misunderstood as to how it works.  Easy break down for you- if your skin burns in 1 minute and you’re wearing and SPF of 30, you get 30 times the protection, so 30 minutes before reapplication.
  • Always reapply SPF.  Sunscreens should be reapplied every 60-90 minutes depending on the activity.  If you’re swimming or sweating, the SPF should be reapplied as soon as you dry off.  Reminder- there is no such thing as water proof SPF, be careful!
  • Apply a stable Vitamin C to your face each morning.  This works along with your SPF to ensure proper and enhanced protection from the damaging UV rays.
  • Be Safe and Vigilant

    While most skin cancers are caused by UV Rays,  only about 10% of melanoma isn’t linked to UV damage.  Have regular skin checks with your physician, limit sun exposure, wear SPF and if you see something changing or new get it checked out! At our Kansas City area Medical Spa we offer a wide range of safe, broad spectrum sunscreens to protect your skin.  Complimentary skin care consultations are always available with our licensed estheticians, Heather and Natalie.  They will talk with you about your lifestyle and recommend the best options for you.  Contact our office today to learn more.

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