We’re nearing summer and sunshine is about to be in full bloom (especially here in Southern Colorado where we’re known as the “desert of Colorado”. Interesting right?).
Now, you won’t find us sun-loving people complaining about warmth and all the adventures that come along with those rays of sunshine (hello, water activities and drinks on the patio).
You will, however, find us in the shade, slathering on sunscreen, while talking A LOT about how to protect your skin from the sun.
And because May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month – what better time to talk about your skin and protection from the sun?!
First up, though, is some cold, hard truths about sun and skin cancer…
Sun + Skin Cancer
According to the American Academy of Dermatology:
• 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
• Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
• Approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer daily.
• One blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, later in life.
• Nearly, 20 Americans die from melanoma every day.
• UV exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers.
• Water, snow and sand can reflect and intensify the sun’s damaging rays.
• Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can reach your skin.
We know reading these figures can be a sobering thought, especially when the figures point out that melanoma takes 20 American lives a day.
But there’s good news: you can greatly reduce your risk of skin cancer!
(Go ahead and breathe now after reading those statistics).
So, how do you reduce your risk of skin cancer?
Good old-fashioned sun protection.
Before we introduce ways to protect your skin from the sun, we need to talk about the sun and what it CAN do for your body and health…
The (Healthy) Sun + Vitamin D
We’ve discussed the harm that the sun can do to your skin (increased skin cancer risk and even sun damage).
What we haven’t talked about is what the sun (specifically Vitamin D) can do for your overall health.
The sun is essential for Vitamin D production which helps hormone regulation, supports a healthy immune system and builds strong bones (just to name a few perks).
So, if we’re constantly protecting ourselves from the sun, how do we get that essential Vitamin D from the sun?
According to the National Institutes of Health –
“It has been suggested by some vitamin D researchers, for example, that approximately 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis…Individuals with limited sun exposure need to include good sources of vitamin D in their diet or take a supplement to achieve recommended levels of intake.”
Remember, when taking into consideration your relationship to the sun; consider these factors:
• Skin type
• Where you live (how harsh the sun can or cannot be in your area)
• How much sun exposure your skin has had over your lifetime (Sun worshipper? Tanning beds? Rarely use sunscreen?)
Yes, your body needs Vitamin D, but it doesn’t need an increased risk in skin cancer or sun damage, therefore, find a happy dance between sun health and sun protection.
Ok, speaking of protection…
Here are some of our favorite ways to protect your skin from the sun!
How to Protect Your Skin from The Sun
1. Cover Up
We love a powerful sunscreen, but even that chemical barrier can’t block all the sun from your skin.
If you’re down with being covered head-to-toe in protective clothing, go for it!
If that’s not your style, at least opt for a wide-brimmed hat (peace out sun damage), shades and something to cover those areas on your body that sun loves to touch.
2. Be Shady
The sun is the most powerful during the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so that means, duck and get your shade on.
Having lunch outside? Go for a shaded area, or under an umbrella. Remember that hat you bought to protect you from the sun? Whip it out and be as shady as you need to be!
3. Know Your Surfaces
Keep in mind it’s not just the surface of the sun that can increase your risk of skin cancer.
Surfaces like water, snow and sand can all reflect the sun’s rays and the next thing you know, you’re wondering how you got a sunburn on a cloudy day at the beach, or a plow down the mountain.
Protect your skin from the sun, snow, sand and water!
4. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen.
This one is a no-brainer, so here are some extra tips to keep your sunscreen working hard.
• Don’t forget the areas on your body like lips, hands, feet, ears and neck.
• Use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher.
• Reapply! Especially after sweating or swimming and typically every two hours.
5. Repeat After Me, “No More Tanning Beds”
Repeat that mantra any time you feel the urge to get in a tanning bed.
Not only does your skin cancer risk increase with tanning beds, but so does the aging process (wrinkles, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, age spots, etc.).
And we want you to look AND feel your best, so drop the tanning bed and if you’re really feeling an itch for tanning; grab a self-tanner and slather away.
Obviously, we can’t talk about all things sun and protection without talking about our favorite sunscreen.
We’re so grateful for our partnership with ZO® Skin Health because we LOVE offering our clients different options when it comes to sunscreen AND healthy aging.
Below, you’ll find five different options of sunscreen from ZO®.
For easy application, the Sun Spray SPF 50 is a hit and if you’re going for a day look with make-up — the Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30 (literally) has you covered.
Need help choosing one? Give us a call (719.423.0083) or stop by Renew and we can help you choose the best sunscreen for you.
We know the risk of skin cancer is scary – especially with numbers that say 20 Americans die from melanoma a day (eek!).
The upside? You have all the power to reduce that risk by protecting yourself from the sun.
Ditching tanning beds, covering up with a hat and light layers, seeking the shade as much as possible and using sunscreen consistently when outdoors (even around water, sand and snow) can help your relationship with the sun be as healthy as possible.
Because using a hat and looking like a celebrity while doing it is way cooler than sun damage and increasing your risk of skin cancer!