May is skin cancer awareness month, and there’s no better time than right before summer to brush up on sun safety. Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer in the US with one in five Americans developing it by age 70. Skin cancer is mainly caused by ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun, and develops when skin cells are damaged and grow abnormally. While this daunting information can be alarming, the great news is that most cases of skin cancer are preventable. When caught early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent making it one of the most treatable cancers.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and is often caused by the combination of periodic, intense exposure and cumulative, long-term exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer and is caused by regular long term exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds and the sun.
Melanoma is the most dangerous of the three and is caused by tanning bed use and intense sun exposure resulting in sunburns.
3 tips for a sun-safe summer
1. Use a Mineral-Based Sunscreen
We love spending time outside. That's why we created mineral sunscreens that protect us in all kinds of environments. Wearing sunscreen is proven to decrease your risk of skin cancer, and help prevent skin aging. Regular daily use of sunscreen can lower your risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent. By wearing mineral sunscreen you can enjoy your favorite outdoor activities while protecting your skin from cancer because mineral sunscreens completely block UV rays.
2. Find Shade on Sunny Days
During summer, when temperatures are the highest, from 1pm to 4pm, avoid outdoor activities that are in direct sunlight. To prevent sun exposure and heat exhaustion, it’s important to take breaks in the shade. Pack an umbrella when planning trips to the beach and seek shade for rests while hiking. Wearing a wide brim hat is another great way to help find shade and keep cool during blazing summer days.
3. Wear Sun Blocking Clothing
Protective clothing is one of your best lines of defense against UV radiation and skin cancer. The sun’s rays are extremely strong and can burn you through certain clothes that are too thin or sheer. If you can see light through a fabric, UV rays can get through too. Dark and bright colored apparel offers stronger protection than lighter colors, and loose clothing is better than tight clothing because it doesn’t allow as much UV light to pass through stretched out fibers.
When combined together, these sun safety strategies will drastically reduce your odds for developing skin cancer. Our mission at Sea and Summit is to create the best sunscreen on the planet to help you get outside safely and responsibly. To learn more about skin cancer prevention, visit https://www.skincancer.org/.
Written by: Emily McDonald