Like many things that can cause cancer, too much of a good thing can be bad, including sunshine. Damage done by too much exposure to the sun can result in the development of melanoma, a potentially fatal form of cancer, and other skin cancers. Regular use of sunscreen can reduce that risk.

Tanned skin may be fashionable but it’s actually a result of damaged skin cells. Research suggests that the cumulative damage to skin cells can lead to wrinkles, age spots, premature aging and skin cancer.

But there is a way to stop the sun from getting through and damaging your skin…wearing suntan lotion or sunscreen.  If you are going to be out in the sun, it is recommended you cover-up with an SPF of 30 or higher.  This will protect your skin for 30 times longer than without protection.  Here at American Cancer Fund, we believe that sunscreen is so important to protecting your skin, we actually worked with a team of experts and developed one for you!

Almost all cases of melanoma (90%) are believed to be caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and artificial sources.  It’s been estimated that one blistering sunburn can double the odds of developing melanoma in the years ahead, which is why it is critical for adults and children to cover up when exposed to the sun’s rays.

Melanoma is not just for the aged.

  • For those 25-29 it’s the most common form of cancer and the second most common form of cancer for people 15-29 years old.
  • Melanoma is the most common cause of cancer death in women 25-30 and the second leading cause for women 30-35 years old.

Sunscreens help prevent the sun’s radiation from reaching and damaging the skin. There are two types of UV radiation, UVA and UVB. Both cause skin damage and increase your risk of skin cancer. UVB is the type mostly causing sunburn. UVA penetrates the skin more deeply and is connected to wrinkling and other light-induced effects of aging. UVA also worsens the cancer causing effects of UVB rays and may cause skin cancer on its own.

MRF recommends we use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. It should be reapplied every two hours. A study of more than 1,600 adults over a ten year period showed that when subjects apply sunscreen with an SPF of 16 each day it cut their risk of melanoma by 50%, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

After another long winter, we all want to enjoy these coming months having plenty of fun out in the sun.  Afterall, there are plenty of healthy activities to enjoy as the weather gets warmer.  Just make sure to take care of your entire body and protect your skin!

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