Today is Sunscreen Day! With many counting Memorial Day Weekend as the unofficial kickoff to summer, it’s time to start enjoying boats, beaches, and barbeques. Wearing sunscreen to protect your skin will ensure you maximize the fun while minimizing the harmful effects of the sun.
On the not-so-sunny side of things, Sunscreen Day serves as a reminder May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and offers the perfect time to get involved helping to prevent the array of devastating diseases mostly originating from over exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, Over 5 million cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, making skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. While it is reaching epidemic proportions, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. By raising awareness of the dangers of unprotected exposure and encouraging sun-safe habits, we truly save lives.
Even in ancient times, we found ways to protect our skin. While living on the edge of the desert, Ancient Egyptians preferred the look of light skin to dark skin, so they invented sun lotions to maintain a lighter complexion. They used a combination of rice bran, jasmine, and lupine in their sun lotions – and some of these ingredients are still used in sunscreens today!
Many scientists that are credited with discovering modern sunscreen. In 1936, chemist Eugene Schueller invented a preventative sunburn cream and went on to start L’Oreal. Around the same time, Swiss chemist Franz Greiter was inspired to develop a sun lotion after he was sunburned while climbing Mount Piz Buin. His product came to the market under the name Piz Buin in 1946 and is still sold today. In 1944, Florida pharmacist Benjamin Green patented Red Vet Pet sunscreen, which became Coppertone suntan cream – very popular throughout the 1950s and still on billboards all over beaches today.
HOW TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL SUNSCREEN DAY
- Lather up
If you’re planning for a day outdoors, get out those sunscreen tubes and lather up. As a rule of thumb, only use products that are water resistant and have an SPF of 30 or more, which shields against 97% of UVB rays. However, the most important words to look for on your sunscreen tube are “broad spectrum”, which means it protects against both types of rays: UVA (Aging) and UVB (Burning) rays. Wait 15 mins for sunscreen to absorb through your skin and then seize the sunny day!
- Seek shade
If today is a particularly sunny day, sometimes shade is the best natural medicine. It’s an easy and practical form of sun protection that you can find nearly everywhere. Shade can significantly reduce UV exposure as well as provide a cool, comfortable space to enjoy your day. Throw shade at those rays!
- Get out those beach hats
Your face and head are disproportionately more prone to skin cancer compared to other parts of your body. Choose a hat with a broad rim (more than 3 inches) angled downwards to provide the ultimate UV protection. Hats ON to skin protection.
WHAT TO LOVE ABOUT SUNSCREEN
- It protects against skin cancer
Sunscreens combine several ingredients that shield against different UV rays which are some of the major causes of different types of skin cancer. Sunscreen is one vital tool that can help prevent most UV ray-induced assaults on the body. It’s a comprehensive photo-protective product that reduces over 90% of these rays. Bye bye rays!
- It’s anti-aging
Sunscreen helps prevent a variety of skin discolorations that give you an uneven skin tone. It prevents facial brown spots, reduces the appearance of blotchiness and red veins, and slows down the development of premature wrinkles. Who knew that sunscreen might be the golden ticket to the fountain of youth?
- There are good cosmetic options
There are a variety of sunscreens that not only protect you from the sun, but make your skin look great while doing it! Great news for those who hate the smell and feel of sunscreen: several lotions, makeup, hair sprays, and body oils contain SPF—using sunscreen on the reg might be easier than you thought!
FAST FACTS ABOUT SKIN CANCER
- Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and includes different types.
- Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes.
- Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage.
- Anyone can get skin cancer, but some things put you at higher risk.
- Indoor tanning exposes users to two types of ultraviolet rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer.
- The most common signs of skin cancer are changes on your skin, such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole.
How you can help prevent Skin Cancer
- Share Your Story
Have you been affected by skin cancer? During the month of May, please share your story on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and encourage your loved ones to share, too. Please include the hashtag #MySkinCancerJourney in your post so we can create a powerful community of healthy skin champions.
- Raise Awareness Through Education
Share the Skin Cancer Foundation’s educational content with your family, friends and colleagues. This month, their conversation is centered around the important message that it’s never too early or too late to embrace a sun-safe lifestyle. Sun damage is cumulative, meaning people of all ages need a daily sun protection strategy. Throughout the month, visit their blog for great sun protection tips for all ages. Their prevention guidelines and early detection articles are also great resources to share.
- Help Fund Lifesaving Programs
Make a donation in support of the Skin Cancer Foundation. This month, they are kicking off a 2018 Destination: Healthy Skin mobile education program. Over the next four months, they will visit 15 cities, providing skin cancer information and free screenings to communities around the country. For just $15, you can buy a mile on their journey and help support this lifesaving program.
- Connect With the Skin Cancer Foundation
Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join in the conversation. As the leading resource for skin cancer information and news, they take pride in this responsibility. When you follow, you can be sure that you’re getting accurate information from leading medical experts.
- Reach Young People
Sun Smart U provides educators with the resources they need to teach youth how to make sun-safe choices that are vital in preventing skin cancer. Please share information about this program, which features free lesson plans, with your local school district. The Foundation also has several educational posters available in their online store. These posters are great to hang in your classroom, community center or workplace.
As we embark on the glorious, sunny days of the season, let’s do all we can to protect ourselves and our little ones from UV rays’ potential threats to our skin. Remember, UV rays are the major causes of several deadly skin cancers and sunscreen is one of the most easy and accessible ways to protect against them. So, get out those sunscreen tubes and cover your head with a hat and your eyes with some shades because sun protection is trending today and everyday!
And, if you do find an odd spot on your body’s biggest organ, you can use HealthLynked to find a great physician near you and get the help you need. Simply go to HealthLynked.com and sign up for free, then Connect and collaborate through HealthLynked to heal your skin!
Skin Cancer Foundation
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