By Betsy Crick
May is Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, and DHEC wants you to be prepared before heading outdoors this summer.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds.
Lower Your Skin Cancer Risk
To lower your skin cancer risk, protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends these easy options:
- Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours
- Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
- Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays
- Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher – and both UVA and UVB protection
- Avoid indoor tanning
- Sunscreens are assigned an SPF number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
- Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
- Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.
- Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same chemicals used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, don’t use them by themselves.
Knowledge is power – with these tips and tricks, your skin is sure to have a healthy, happy summer!