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Let’s Chat About Skin Cancer Awareness - It's a Biggie!

Let’s Chat About Skin Cancer Awareness - It's a Biggie!

Ah, May - it’s not just about blossoms and the eagerly awaited switch from hot to iced coffee. It’s also Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Now, I know talking about the “C” word can put a damper on your day faster than rain on a picnic, but stick with me, friends, because we’re diving into some super important stuff with a sprinkle of hope on top!

So, here's the scoop: skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., with over 5 million cases diagnosed each year. Yikes, right? But before you start looking at your skin with suspicion, let me share the good news - it's also one of the most preventable cancers out there. Ready for some life-changing tips and facts? Of course, you are!

Did You Know?

Let’s drop some knowledge bombs, courtesy of the Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • 1 in 5 Americans will be invited to the skin cancer party at some point in their lives (uninvited, if you ask me).
  • Those 5+ sunburns you had might double your chances of a melanoma meet-and-greet.
  • More folks are diagnosed with skin cancer in a year than all other cancers combined. Talk about an unwanted record, huh?

Your Sun-Smarts Playbook

Now, the sun’s not all bad - it gives us sunsets, helps flowers grow, and let’s not forget that sweet, sweet Vitamin D. But, its UV rays? Not our friend. Here’s how to enjoy the sunny side of life, minus the risks:

1. Sunscreen = Your New BFF

Yes, daily! Make it a habit every morning to apply a layer of sunscreen to your face, ears and neck at minimum. When spending time outdoors, make sure to apply to your body and reapply every 2 hours or after swimming and sweating. Check out our Summer Box (debuting in June) for all things SPF!

2. Wardrobe Weaponry

Invest in some UPF (that’s Ultraviolet Protection Factor for the uninitiated) clothing and accessories and make sure you have a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses. Fashion meets function!

3. Shade is Your Sanctuary

Check the UV index on your phone’s weather app. The higher the number, the higher the UV radiation. So try to plan your time outdoors when the UV index is lowest for the day.

4. Nix the Tan

I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s so important for me to stress that there is no such thing as a healthy or safe tan.

In fact, our skin tans in response to skin cell inflammation and injury from UV radiation and in turn produces pigment (melanin). DNA damage to our skin cells is cumulative from the very first tan.

5. Self-Skin Exams

This might be the easiest thing you can do. Once a month, take a minute before your shower to check out any new guests (read: moles) that have appeared on your skin. If they look suspicious, it’s time to call in the pros (like me!).

6. Yearly Derm Date

Make an annual appointment to see your dermatologist for a full skin exam, especially if skin cancer has crashed your family’s party before. You can find a board-certified dermatologist by visiting the American Academy of Dermatology website!

The Great "Base Tan" Myth

Lastly, let’s bust a myth real quick: A base tan will not protect your skin from sunburn or sun damage. Let me repeat that: It will not prevent sunburn; it just adds to the DNA damage. So, let’s say it together: “Nope, not happening!”

There you have it, Dermy Doctor's guide to keeping your skin in the clear. Remember, skin cancer might sound scary, but with the right knowledge and habits, it’s more preventable than you might think.

And for those who want to dive even deeper, check out the Skin Cancer Foundation's treasure trove of information. Let’s spread the word with the hashtag #skincancerisserious because, well, it is.

Here's to clear skies and even clearer skin. Stay sun-safe, my friends!

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