How to not die from skin cancer


Most people adore the sun. And for good reason – it is the reason there is life on Earth and food to eat. Sunshine also produces Vitamin D in our bodies when it hits our skin.  On the downside, too much sun can damage our skin cells and cause cancer.  And yes, it can happen to you and you can die from it.

When I worked as a beach lifeguard, it astonished me to see one of my co-workers pour tanning oil on their skin before getting up in the guard chair.  Newsflash! If you are spending 40 hours a week lifeguarding on the beach, you are going to get tanned no matter what!  While he was pouring on oil, I slathered myself with waterproof sunscreen every 30 minutes. And guess what? We were both really tanned by the end of the summer!

Unfortunately, sunscreen can’t prevent all skin damage but I like to think that it reduced it a bit. Only about 20% of the population regularly uses sunscreen even though skin cancer represents 1/3 cancers diagnosed worldwide!! 

Skin damage also makes you look older and can cause new moles and spots. Sunscreen can protect you from the aging effects of the sun. Wearing a daily moisturizer with SPF 15 or 30 built in is recommended by dermatologists and is an easy way to protect your face. 

TIPS FOR SUNSCREEN USE

– Most adults need about 1 oz of sunscreen to cover their entire body (that’s a whole shot glass full)
– If possible, apply sunscreen 30 min before you go outside
– Reapply often, especially between 11am-2pm when the sun’s rays are the hottest
– Swimmers or exercisers should wear waterproof sunscreen so that it doesn’t wash off with your sweat. For your face, try a sunscreen designed for your face (non-greasy) and avoid putting it close to your eyes.  If you have a problem with it dripping into your eyes (ouch!), wear a hat and sunglasses and apply sunscreen to the bottom half of your face only
– If your nose tends to burn, get a zinc stick! It completely blocks the sun’s rays and will help you prevent peeling and yuckyness. Plus, it comes in really fun colors like pink, blue, orange, and purple!
– Don’t forget your ears or your feet!  It’s easy to forget these spots but they are prone to burning so don’t forget!
– If you forget your sunscreen at the beach, ask the lifeguards – they usually have free samples to give you.

 Enjoy the sunshine!!

-Emily

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