Submitted by Becky Powell, Community Cancer Center
As we enter the summer months and enjoy warm temperatures, cookouts, and pool parties it is important to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in this country than all other cancers combined. Approximately 1 in 5 American will develop a skin cancer by age 70. Additionally, the number of new melanoma skin cancer cases has increased 53 percent over the last 10 years.
Protecting your skin from the damaging rays of the sun is something everyone must make a priority. When it comes to skin protection, there are many different types of sunscreen products on the market. Chemical versus physical sunscreen are terms you may or may not be familiar with. Physical sunscreens contain mineral ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide and work by deflecting the sun’s rays away from the skin. Chemical sunscreens, also referred to as chemical absorbers, contain ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. They work by changing the sun’s rays into heat which is then released from the skin. There are pros and cons to both types but when selecting a product make sure it states “broad spectrum” so it protects you from both the UVA and UVB rays of the sun and has at least a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30. Other key steps to skin protection include:
- Seekingshade when attending outdoor activities
- Re-applying your sunscreen every 2 hours or more depending on your outdoor activity.
- Wearing protective clothing such as hats, long sleeves, sunglasses
- Avoiding the use indoor tanning beds or sunbathing
Remember these skin safety tips as you get outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of summer.