We now know that skin cancer is a lifestyle disease, not a contagious disease or a matter of bad luck. The common forms of skin cancer have been linked to UV radiation from the sun and also tanning beds. This brings out into the open the simple fact that skin cancer, unlike other forms of cancer, can be reduced through awareness, early detection, and changes in our behavior. Gone are the days of sunbathing without protection or burning your skin in a tanning bed in order to achieve that tanned up look. People of all ages recognize that practicing sun protection is a part of a normal, healthy lifestyle just like exercising and eating healthy. Sun protection is not limited to our time on the beach. We should think of protecting our skin in all aspects of our life - when we work, play, socialize and exercise.
Skin Cancer Prevention When You Work
- Exposure: UV rays penetrate glass. If you work near a window, you need to take care.
- Remedy: Go to work wearing at least an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen product. In addition to lotions and creams, new powders offer options to best keep you safe.
Skin Cancer Prevention When You Play
- Exposure: At play, the exposure is exposure. That is, exposure to the harmful rays of the sun. The more intense the exposure to the sun, the more you need to protect yourself.
- Remedy: Practice a variety of sun safety measures. Between the hours of 10am and 4pm, seek shade where available and avoid the sun where possible. Use SPF 50+ sunscreen and reapply every two hours. Wear sun protective clothing including hats, sleeves, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Skin Cancer Prevention When You Socialize
- Exposure: A normal part of socialization is your appearance, but don't try to appear to be something that you and your skin is not.
- Remedy: Tanning to achieve an appearance is over. Embrace your natural skin tone. For a bit of facial color, use skin safe products such as highlighters or bronzers with SPF 15 or higher. Just a dab on your cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose can give you the smooth, toned look that you are seeking.
Skin Cancer Prevention When You Exercise
- Exposure: If you exercise in a thin T-shirt you are at risk and if you exercise outdoors there is a good chance that as you wipe away your perspiration you are wiping away your sunscreen protection.
- Remedy: For starters, be mindful that the thin, cotton, white T-shirt you are wearing offers very little sun protection, only 5 to 10 SPF. A much better and safer choice would be a tightly woven or dark colored fabric which raises your SPF protection to the SPF 20+ level. Even better would be the high-UPF clothing that is now available which is especially suited for exercise and offers SPF 50+ protection. As always, if you are exercising outside, avoid the sun intense hours of the day and keep your skin as covered as your exercise activity can allow for. If your schedule permits, establish a morning or end of day exercise routine.
For those old enough to remember, there was a time when there were no laws regarding seat belts. Most drivers and nearly all passengers did not wear their seat belts. Then, wearing seat belts became the law. For many, buckling up was not an automatic action to take. Some folks learned the hard way and only committed to buckling up after being ticketed by the police for driving without wearing seat belts. The rest of us just buckled up because we were supposed to. And now, we buckle up without even thinking about it.
So too, it is with Skin Cancer Prevention. Today, most of us must think about the sun protection actions that we should take. But there is no mistake about it, skin care prevention is a way of life, and soon enough, we will all be taking the appropriate measures without even thinking about it, just like wearing a seat belt.