Are you one of the people who believes sunscreen is only necessary in the spring and summer? Do you apply SPF only when you are going to the beach or the pool? You might be surprised to know that, even on a cloudy day, 80 percent of the sun’s UV radiation reaches us. Wearing sunscreen every day, especially if you plan to be outdoors for an extended period of time, can help prevent certain conditions such as sunburn, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer.
The two main causes of skin cancer are the harmful UV rays from the sun and UV tanning beds. Ultraviolet light damages our DNA (genetic material) in our skin cells, causing damage.to the outermost layer of skin. The skin tries to prevent further injury by producing melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its color. This results in a darkening of the skin – or tanning. This damage to the skin cells doesn’t just injure the cell, it can lead to skin cancer.
Many patients ask us if tanning beds are a safer option than the sun. It is a myth that tanning beds are a safer form of tanning. There is no such thing as a safe or healthy tan. While tanning in general may increase your risk of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer), just one indoor tanning session before the age of 35 increases your risk of developing melanoma by 75%! A study by the University of Minnesota showed that the use of tanning beds may quadruple your risk of melanoma.
What is at stake?
- One in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
- Worldwide, there are more skin cancer cases due to indoor tanning than there are lung cancer cases due to smoking.
- Tanning changes and ages your skin.
- Tanning is a visible sign of damage that accelerates the appearance of wrinkles, sun spots, and leathery skin.
What is the best way to protect our skin? First, avoid tanning beds entirely. Second, apply sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days and in the winter. It takes approximately 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to adequately cover the face and more to cover the neck and other exposed areas. Apply the product at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours. The best type of sunscreen is the one you will use again and again. Just make sure it offers broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection, has an SPF of 30 or higher and is water-resistant. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays.
Medical Day Spa of Chapel Hill has curated some of the best SPF products for our patients, including those with mineral, chemical, and/or physical protection. Elta MD is the #1 recommended brand of sunscreen by dermatologists with SPF products ranging from SPF 30 – 50. They also provide SPF products for the lips. ZO Skin Health and Skin Better Science make broad-spectrum SPF products for every skin type and skin tone. All SPF products at Medical Day Spa are 10% off during May.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Help us spread the word about skin cancer and save lives in the process.
To learn more or schedule a skincare consultation please call Medical Day Spa of Chapel Hill at 919-904-7111.
If you live in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Hillsborough or anywhere in the Triangle area of North Carolina come on in and experience our 5 star MedSpa !
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UV Clear is my favorite sunscreen! It is light and doesn’t burn my eyes when I sweat. It also does not cause breakouts as I’ve experienced with other sunscreens.