Tips for Preventing Melanoma
According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common form of the disease. Melanoma, the most aggressive and serious form of skin cancer, causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths. The disease is becoming more and more common, with rates rising steadily each year. In fact, it is expected that almost 100,000 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed in 2019. And unfortunately, most of these cases could have been prevented through education and with the proper protection.
Roughly 86% of melanomas are a result of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Sadly, skin cancer is often referred to as a lifestyle disease, which means that its greatest risk factors are associated with a lack of protection. That being said, it’s truly never too early or late to start practicing skin protection.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. However, sunscreen alone isn’t enough to provide proper protection. Let’s take a look at some melanoma prevention tips.
Even on those gloriously sunny days, it’s important to spend a little time in the shade. The UV index is highest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. So, if you’re worried about getting too much sun exposure or you begin to feel yourself burning, this is the ideal time for a shade break. A wide-brimmed hat is also a great piece to have when you’re out there enjoying the sun, as it provides shade for your face and head no matter where you are!
Avoid Tanning Beds
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies UV radiation from both the sun and indoor tanning devices as a known carcinogen. To put the gravity of this into perspective, this places UV radiation alongside other harmful substances such as formaldehyde and arsenic.
That’s a lot of scientific jargon to absorb, but all you really need to know is that tanning beds are something you want to avoid! Just one indoor tanning session can increase your risk of developing melanoma by 20% – it’s best to stay away so you don’t become a part of this statistic.
Use a Broad Spectrum (UVA/UVB) Sunscreen
Using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher will do a good job of shielding you from the sun. Opt for a formula that includes broad-spectrum protection, so you can remain protected from both UVA and UVB rays while you’re out there enjoying yourself.
However, it’s important to remember that you must reapply sunscreen every two hours (and even more often if you go for a dip)! Otherwise, your protection will wear off, leaving your skin susceptible to damage.
Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
While sunscreen is an extremely common form of sun protection, it’s not entirely fool-proof. Not only does it wear off over time, but it can also be tricky to apply, especially if you don’t have someone to help you. If you’re concerned about your sunscreen washing off or are unsure if you can effectively cover every part of your body, sun-protective clothing is a great alternative.
When shopping for sun-safe clothing, be sure to choose pieces with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of 50+. Cabana Life offers a wide variety of UPF-rated clothing that keeps you protected and looking great. We provide ample options for everyday wear, from tops to bottoms, dresses, and swimsuits. Slipping into something from Cabana Life means that you’re suiting yourself up with UPF 50+ protection and blocking 98% of UVA and UVB rays. It’s the most responsible and stylish thing to do.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you should perform a self-examination at least once per month, and more often if you have family members with a history of skin cancer. Be on the lookout for moles that may have changed in color or shape, as well as lesions that bleed, itch, or don’t heal. It’s also important to take note of new moles and growths. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist – which you should do once per year no matter what.
Protect the Little Ones
Serious sunburns can increase your little one’s risk of melanoma and other skin cancers later in life. Therefore, it’s imperative to keep your kids protected in the sun at all times. Be sure to outfit them in a hat, apply ample sunscreen, and encourage them to wear sunglasses in order to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays (which can lead to cataracts down the road). And, if you find it difficult to get your kids to reapply sunscreen, opt for sun-protective clothing and swimwear.
Protection is Everything
Melanoma is a serious but preventable disease. While enjoying the sun is one of the most beautiful aspects of the warmer seasons, it’s imperative that we protect ourselves while doing so. Dress functionally, be smart while outside, and always wear (and reapply) sunscreen. Following these tips will help keep you and your family safe from melanoma and other skin cancers.
Looking to ramp up your daily sun protection? Check out Cabana Life’s selection of UPF-rated clothing and swimwear.
Also in Sun Protection Blog & News
Welcome to Sun School! We are hosting our Sun School Series to educate more on the importance of sun safety. We will feature a dermatologist every month on our blog and on a live Q&A with our founder Melissa Papock. We are so excited to feature Dr. Jenny Sobera. She is a Board Certified Dermatologist & founder and owner of Village Dermatology.