May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month
May 20, 2019
May is Skin Cancer Awareness month! Every day more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States (U.S.). Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer can affect anyone of any age and any race. Follow these tips to protect your skin from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays and reduce your risk of skin cancer:
- Seek shade when appropriate, remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
- Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
- Always use sunscreen whenever you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days. Apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin. Most adults need about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their body. Don’t forget to apply to the tops of your feet, your neck, your ears and the top of your head.
- When outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
- Keep newborns and babies under 6 months fully covered and/or in the shade when possible. Sunscreen is recommended for babies over 6 months of age.
- Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer and premature skin aging.
- Consider using a self-tanning product if you want to look tan, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
- Perform regular skin self-exams to detect skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable, and see a board-certified dermatologist if you notice new or suspicious spots on your skin, or any skin changes, itching, or bleeding.
Remember, a tan is a sign that your skin has been injured. Whether you’re exposed to the sun’s UV rays or you visit an indoor tanning salon, every time you tan, your skin is damaged. As this damage builds, you speed up the aging of your skin and increase your risk for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
For this and more information, visit: https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/prevent