Sun Safety Tips

3 years ago
Here comes the part where the girl who had skin cancer gives the obligatory "sun safety" speech...

When I was going through treatment, posts like this were among the last things I wanted to see. For some reason they instilled a sense of guilt about having melanoma, like I did something to cause it. This post isn't meant for those who have skin cancer; you already know this. Its for our friends and family.


{So, if you are anything like me and have recently been diagnosed with skin cancer; you may want to skip this one.}

So, here's the skinny on how to be safer in the sun:

  • 10:00am-4:00pm is when you should try and find an indoor activity. This is when the UV index is typically the highest. [The Weather Channel iPhone app tells you your local UV index or you can look it up here. Read more about the UV index here.]
  • Your daily moisturizer should have SPF in it. I like this one for my face. I also use this in the summer and something like this in the winter for all over moisture.
  • Wear protective clothing! Put a hat on [your hair will appreciate skipping the UV damage too]. Sit under and umbrella/shade. Wear sunglasses. Sun Savvy is a great resource for stylish, protective clothing! Also, brands like Columbia  carry outdoor apparel with SPF!
  • Even though you are using a moisturizer with SPF your still need to apply sunscreen when you know you will be outside. 30+ SPF is ideal and make sure it is a broad spectrum sunscreen. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and broad spectrum means it is protecting against UVA and UVB sun rays. Skincancer.org has a great product finder resource to help you chose the most effective sunscreen. Learn more about sunscreen: on Mayo Clinic's site, WebMD and here.
  • Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes prior to exposure and reapplied at least every two hours.
  • Ladies, most cosmetic companies offer their foundations with SPF in it. Purchase those instead. It is an easy switch! Examples: MACBare Escentuals, and Laura Mercier just to name a few.
  • Keep babies and children out of the sun! Damage done during childhood greatly impacts skin health later in life. Not to mention babies shouldn't wear sunscreen until they are at least 6 months of age meaning their vulnerable skin is even less protected. 
  • Do regular skin checks at home. Check everywhere....like EVERWHERE. Skin cancer doesn't care if its in an awkward location. [That means check your booty, genitals, scalp, mouth, eyelids, fingernails...everywhere.] You are looking for any changes. Check out this site to learn your ABCDE's.
  • See your dermatologist at least once a year! Of course if you have had a skin cancer before you and your derm are probably much closer than that...Anything that is sketchy/questionable/new/ugly/painful/different; have it checked out.
  • DO NOT TAN.  there i said it

There are tons of wonderful options if you are looking to get involved in skin cancer awareness/prevention/treatment! Katie, has a great blog called Pretty in Pale. She is a great melanoma activist involved in everything from research to fundraising and lobbying for tanning salon restrictions! The Melanoma Research Foundation always has opportunities for education and advocacy. I also really like AIM. And for my own personal interests ;) check out Md Anderson's Melanoma & Skin Center
Now that i've said all of that I want to make sure everyone knows that not all skin cancers are caused by sun/UV exposure. However, UV exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer. 
Take care of your skin people! There are no do overs...
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor or anything close to it. Please consult with your physician. 
Do you have any additional sun safety tips or tricks?

Amanda

Marry Mint

This is an article written by one of the incredible members of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.
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