Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and it is the number one cancer in people ages 24 to 29. That’s why there is an awareness campaign to protect yourself against harmful rays.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, but it is preventable and treatable if caught early. Dermatologists want to bring attention to the importance of protecting your skin from the sun.
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk. The first is don’t burn. A person’s risk for melanoma doubles with five or more sunburns at any point in life. Also, avoid tanning and tanning beds.
Dr. Jenifer Lloyd says you should always opt for a sunblock instead of a sunscreen.
“A sunblock physically blocks all of the rays from the sun. It sits on the surface of the skin and works instantly. If you put sunblock on right now, you could go outside right away,” Lloyd said. “A sunscreen is a chemical that interacts with the top layer of your skin, and you have to put it on 30 minutes before you go outside for that reaction to take place.”
Lloyd says there isn’t any FDA criteria for labels when it comes to sunblock and sunscreen. In order to know what you are buying, she says you have to look at the ingredients. Sunblock should contain zinc, titanium and iron oxide.
There are many products that make it easy to protect your skin, and many are not greasy. Lloyd wears a powder sunscreen daily. She also recommends protective clothing.
“Sun protective clothing you don’t have to reapply; you just simply put it on and it protects you all day. It’s lightweight, it’s airy, it’s breathable and much better than a cotton t-shirt. A cotton t-shirt has an SPF of 8, especially when it’s wet. This clothing has an SPF of 50 to 100.”
Detection is also an important factor. Lloyd recommends getting your skin checked by a dermatologist at least once a year. You should also be examining your skin and moles at home. If you notice a change in an existing mole or discover any new spot that doesn’t heal after several weeks, see a doctor immediately.
There are several free apps for your mobile devices that can help you map, measure and monitor moles.