Skin Cancer Prevention
There are a couple of keys to increasing your odds in terms of skin cancer survival: screening and early detection/diagnosis (read more HERE) and even more importantly, skin cancer prevention. For skin cancer and melanoma there is no proven way to prevent it with 100% certainty, but we do know there are some good prevention strategies in terms of mitigating risk, especially when it comes to sun exposure. There are, however, some melanomas which occur in places that never see the sun. It is thought that these types of skin cancers are largely genetic, driven by environmental toxin exposure or possibly triggered by a viral infection.
Melanoma and Skin Cancer Prevention tips
- Limit UV radiation (sun) exposure, especially sunburns
- Avoid indoor tanning beds
- Limit sun exposure between 10am and 4pm when the suns rays are most intense
- Wear clothing and hats that offer sun protection. Always wear sunglasses outdoors (melanoma can occur in the eye!)
- Use broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB protection) sunscreen throughout the year and reapply every 2 hours or after sweating or being in water. Be mindful of reflective surfaces like bodies of water and even the snow (especially high up in the mountains!).
- Be aware of medication side effects that may cause increased sensitivity to the sun (certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, anti-fungals, blood pressure medications, etc…)
Even more important is screening and this doesn’t just mean a visit to the dermatologist once a year or so. Doing routine self-examinations can catch a change in a mole or skin early. Early detection and removal significantly improves prognosis!
Here are some of my favorite Sun Protection Products
Supergoop: I have a hard time with the mineral based sunscreens that are thick and white. Supergoop is a great option that has been forumlated to meet the EU safety standards which are higher than those in the US. They have several formulations that we love: the unseen sunscreen for daily facial sun protect, the PLAY 50 spray and lotion as well as their baby and kids line!
Beautycounter: Their mineral sunscreen stick is great for kiddos (and adults)! I keep one in the diaper bag and stroller for easy swipe of sunscreen for the kids if we are at the park or pool!
Free Fly: Their bamboo UPF protecton sun shirts are to die for. My husband has been wearing them for years and I finally got in on the game a couple of years ago. They have different weights of the bamboo up to UPF 50. I’m super excited because they finally made a women’s shirt in their lightest weight bamboo fabric and I can’t wait to wear it this summer! They also have kids sizes!
Patagonia: They also have a great sun shirt with UPF 40+ protection for men and women as well as kids and baby/toddlers!
Lululemon: I’m really happy bucket and wide brimmed hats are back in style. Lululemon has some great bucket hat options!
Brooks: I came across this Brooks running hat while we were on vacation in Arizona and it is the perfect summer running hat! It is lightweight and packable, perfect for summer travel.
Sunbum: Their mineral SPF 30 chapstick that is fragrance free is in all of my bags and pockets in the summer!
Next week I will be covering how we can protect ourselves from the outside in using Food as Medicine! Stay tuned!