Skin-Saving Sun Safety Tips

In today’s Glam Slam feature: Gwen Stefani is on to something. As someone with extremely fair skin, I can appreciate how she’s all covered up protecting herself from the sun (stylishly, I might add!).

May is Melanoma Awareness Month and with summer just around the corner, it’s a good reminder that we all need to take care of our skin. #GetNaked! is the Melanoma Research Foundation’s new campaign to remind people to get skin checks.

“Spotting melanoma early can be the difference between having your life end within months, or successfully treating the disease through a simple outpatient procedure,” says Tim Turnham, executive director of the MRF. “Our #GetNaked campaign will grab peoples’ attention and urge them to conduct life-saving skin checks.”

Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer among women aged 25-30, and the second leading cause of death for women aged 30-35 years old. Nearly 80,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma this year — don’t be one of them. Use these tips from the Melanoma Research Foundation to protect yourself…

  • To stay safe from skin-damaging UV rays, wear at least SPF 30 and broad spectrum sunscreen every day. Broad spectrum sunscreens shield against both UVA and UVB rays, protecting your skin from sunburns, skin cancer and premature aging
  • There is no such thing as a safe tan! Tanned skin is the result of damage to skin cells.
  • Conducting skin checks on a monthly basis and scheduling a yearly appointment with your dermatologist can also help protect against melanoma.
  • Skin checks don’t have to be a chore-#GetNaked with your partner and have them help you check those hard to see areas on your body.
  • Baseball caps and brimmed hats are helpful for sun protection, but they are complementary. Be sure to protect your ears, back of your neck and shoulders with sunscreen.
  • The key to successful coverage in the water is to avoid overestimating your coverage. Even the best sunscreens are only rated for 40 to 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. New sunscreen labels must tell you if the sunscreen is water resistant for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Thoroughly dry your body and reapply the sunscreen based on the time listed on the label.

Last year, the FDA released new sunscreen labeling rules, so look for important details when you check out your sunscreen options. If products don’t provide enough coverage (because they’re not broad spectrum or the SPF is low), you’ll see a warning sign that says the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or premature aging.

For more sunscreen and skin protection facts go to www.melanoma.org.

-- Ryan Patterson

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