Every year we become increasingly excited when summer rolls around, but do we really take the time to assess the increased hazards to our skin? May is Melanoma Month and the perfect time for those who love the summer sun to take a moment to learn about the potential dangers to your skin, and find out what you can do to prevent future damage.
Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer, affecting over 50,000 Americans each year. Increased exposure to ultraviolet light causes melanocytes to grow increasingly abnormal and become cancerous. Generally, melanoma affects women around the hips and lower legs, while men more often have melanoma around the upper body, facial, and neck areas.
It’s important to perform a routine self-check skin exam about once every six to eight weeks, checking for changes of growth, color, and size of moles and pigmented areas. If you see a significant change or are concerned, don’t hesitate to have your skin checked by a physician or dermatologist. Often, when melanoma is caught early, it can be treated with minor surgery to remove the affected area. In more advanced cases, melanoma may require extreme chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Taking steps now to protect our skin from the sun and skin cancer prevention is ideal.
For those who use products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) or retinoids, or those who have had microdermabrasion or peels, it is wise to be even more vigilant when it comes to skin care and sun protection. While these treatments leave skin fresh and new, it is also more vulnerable to damaging ultraviolet rays.
For the ultimate sun protection, it’s important to look for a sunscreen with SPF of at least 30. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 40 Sunscreen Cream is a powerful sun protectant fortified with avobenzone and titanium dioxide that massages easily onto skin for a powerful sun shield. Another great product to use is Neova DNA Damage Control Everyday SPF 44. This product is a sunscreen that actually repairs damaged tissue at the cellular level while providing a physical block against UV radiation.
When purchasing a sunscreen, it’s important to consider the difference between physical and chemical sunscreens. A chemical sunscreen is designed with synthetic chemical substances to absorb UV radiation, whereas physical sunscreens contain ultra-fine mineral particles that act like a mirror, reflecting and deflecting damaging radiation. One of the most effective ingredients to look for in a physical sunscreen is micronized titanium dioxide, as found in the highly recommended SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. Not only is this sunscreen lightweight and non-greasy, it contains ingredients that boost your skin’s defenses against UV rays as well as free radicals, and features translucent color spheres that provide a universal tint for all skin tones for a healthy, glowing appearance.
If you desire a sun-kissed glow on your skin, but don’t want to risk damage from the sun, bronzers and sunless tanners are excellent, safe alternatives to an actual suntan. Sun Laboratories Strictly Faces Lotion Level 2 Medium provides you a streak-free, realistic, and healthy-looking glow, without having to expose yourself to the sun’s rays. For everyday, on-the-go protection, Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 30 – Fair gives you a soft, finished, and odor-free sunscreen in a powder form that’s great for all skin types, tones, and conditions.
So be sure to enjoy the outdoors all year long and keep safe by practicing these easy and smart skincare tips!