6 Ways to S.O.S (Save. Our. Skin!)
There are a few common mistakes when it comes to sunscreen application (or lack-there-of) that can put you at risk for cancer. Luckily, the fixes are easy. Here is a list of 6 mistakes that are commonly made, and 6 ways to tweak your routine to stay worry-free!
1. Putting others before yourself
Normally, it is the kind thing to do. But when it comes to sunscreen application, you want to do the exact opposite. That short 15 minutes you take lathering up the kids, your significant other, family, or friends, you’ve made yourself susceptible to sunburn, which damages the skin’s DNA which leads to cancer.
The Quick Fix: Think of it like being on an airplane, when the flight attendants are explaining the proper use of the oxygen masks should they deploy, take care of yourself first. The best strategy is applying sunscreen in the bathroom – unclothed – before leaving the house. The solution needs 15-30 minutes to bind to your skin anyhow. Applying “in the buff” will ensure that you’ve covered every spot, and are less likely to miss the areas around the edge of your clothing, which most frequently end up burned.Once outside, apply more. Think of it like paint or nail polish; one coat doesn’t finish the job.
2. Believing the labels
Sorry to burst your bubble, but a sunscreen that claims to “last 8 hours”, isn’t possible. These products are tested in less-than-realistic conditions, and more lotion is used than an average person would apply. A full ounce is needed to cover your body, but realistically, we use about one quarter of that. The test conditions also do not take into account or include the possibility of swimming or sweating.
The Quick Fix: Despite what the label may tell you, reapply frequently! Especially after dips into the water and wiping yourself dry (and wiping off whatever sunscreen you had left on your skin). Staying out of the sun during peak hours (10 a.m- 3 p.m) is also recommended.
3. Thinking sunscreen is only needed at the beach/pool/lake/river/any body of water
Wrong! Wanna know where potentially deadly melanoma is most commonly found? Not the arms and shoulders, but the lower legs. That is in part to wearing shorts/skirts/capris without sunscreen.
The Quick Fix: Shield yourself everyday with light lotions that provide protection against bout UVA and UVB rays. But choose wisely: look for lotions with at least an SPF of 30, and that contain a combination of avobenzone and octocrylene, or zinc oxide (just read the ingredients people!).
4. But I look younger and skinnier when I am tan
That may be true, but that way of thinking is honestly irresponsible.There are better, safer ways to obtain that glow. Whenever your skin changes color from UV exposure, it is more than a tan, it is a sign of DNA and skin damage. And forget about tanning beds! The UV light that is emitted from those beds penetrate deeper than UVB rays (which is actually the harsher of the 2). One out of five women reading this use tanning beds. Even if it’s only “occasionally”, 74% of you are more likely to develop melanoma. Do the math!
The Quick Fix: Spray tans and self tanner! I know, I know, you’re worried about ending up the same color orange as an Oompa Loompa. But do your research! We provide customized Airbrush Tanning with South Seas Skincare; the most natural, bronzing tan solution you’ve ever seen, and the primary sun tan solution used on Dancing with the Stars! It gives the best brown/gold tint, as if you’ve been vacationing in Hawaii, but without the dangers of UV exposure! We also have phenomenal South Seas self tanner, tan extender and bronzer. Use your resources, you’ll find one right for you!
5. Not wearing sunglasses when we should
Most commonly, we wear our shades between 10 a.m and 3 p.m (peak sun hours). But it is during that time that the sun is directly above us, and our eyes are protected by our eyebrows (they’re not just for waxing!). In the morning and late afternoon, when the sun is low in the sky, is when our eyes are hit more directly. UV light to the eyes will raise our risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and eyelid cancer (yes, that unruly “c” word can even occur on your lids). Eyelid cancer accounts for 5-10% of all skin cancers.
The Quick Fix: Wear your shades every time you’re in the sun. Choose a pair that will block 99-100% of both UVA and UVB rays (it should say so on the label). You can also take your current pairs to an optician who can measure how much radiation they block. THE BIGGER THE BETTER!
6. Skin checks?
Around 95% of squamous and basal cell carcinomas are curable, if treated early. So are 99% of melanomas. But far too many of us are not seeing dermatologists regularly. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends skin checks once a year.While doing your own scans are highly recommended (see our blog post about the ABCDE’s of detecting melanoma here), there is nothing compared to the examination of a trained professional.
The Quick Fix: Schedule your skin check ups while you set up your other annual appointments (dentist, ob/gyn, etc.). That way you don’t forget!
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