With the summer season rapidly approaching, we must talk about sunscreen - and the importance of it - once again. With seemingly endless sun and fun-filled days ahead of us, sun safety needs to be at the forefront of the itinerary. The appropriate use of sunscreen, or lack thereof, could literally mean the difference between life and death. As most of you know, sun exposure greatly increases your risk of getting skin cancer. Most skin cancers can be proactively battled by merely applying and reapplying sunscreen.
The Importance of Using Sunscreen (and Choosing the Right One):
We're sure at this point the sheer importance of daily sunscreen application is drilled into your brain, however, it never hurts to reiterate it! Not only is daily sunscreen application crucial, but the type you use, as well as how you use it, is also significant. If not applied correctly it becomes as useless as not wearing any at all. Although the CDC recommends a minimum SPF of 15, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests that it is safer to use an SPF of 30, at the very least. Moreover, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. Sun exposure destroys skin cells and causes premature aging. If that isn’t motivation enough, the sun is also the number one culprit behind many dangerous and sometimes deadly skin cancers - including the following five.
5. Basal Cell Carcinoma:
We start with the most common form, and one of two major types of non-melanoma skin cancer. This skin cancer is typically characterized by red patches, pink growths, open, oozy sores, shiny bumps, and scars or growths that are slightly elevated, possibly with a crusty centralized indentation and rolled edges - sounds like good times, no? Basal Cell Carcinoma is caused by exposure to ultraviolet light in the majority of cases, ie: sun exposure. Although rarely fatal, BCC can become dangerous and cause disfiguring damage, especially if left untreated. The ideal way to deal with BCC is to not get it in the first place. You know how you do that? By not only using an appropriate sunscreen, but using it correctly and reapplying!
4. Squamous Cell Carcinoma:
As the other main type of non- melanoma skin cancer, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, much like BCC, is not usually fatal. However, if left to its own devices, it can, and likely will, become invasive, growing deep into the layers of the skin. The lesions can be distinguished by their typically irregular borders and scaly, crusty appearance, but they can also present as red patches, open sores, and/or raised growths with a nifty little depression in the centre. Luckily, for the most part, SCC can be successfully treated, although the earlier it is caught - the better. Like many skin cancers, SCC is brought on by damage to the DNA caused by ultraviolet light. The damage results in the growth of the squamous cells becoming abnormally accelerated. This type of cancer usually affects the areas of skin that are exposed to the sun.
Now getting into 'danger' territory, Melanoma is another, very aggressive form of skin cancer that can result from not using sunscreen. Melanoma occurs when melanocytes (cells that produce pigment) begin to mutate and divide like crazy. Sometimes, this can be triggered by overexposure to the sun as well as lasting sun damage. This particular type of skin cancer is well-known for rapidly spreading to other organs if left untreated. Fortunately for you, some studies show that using sunscreen could reduce your risk of developing melanoma by up to 50%, referring to an SPF of at least15!
2. Merkel Cell Carcinoma:
Merkel Cell Carcinoma, also known as neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin, is an extremely rare type of skin cancer and typically affects the elderly. It normally presents as flesh-colored or reddish-blue bumps that tend to show up on the head, neck, and/or face - that’s never a good time. This form of skin cancer is incredibly aggressive and poses a very high risk for recurrence. It is fast spreading and recurrence usually occurs within a few years of the initial diagnosis.
1. Actinic Keratosis:
Actinic Keratosis usually forms after years and years of sun exposure. It is typically characterized by scaly, rough patches of skin, commonly affecting the face, lips, forearms, back of the hands, neck, and scalp. This is another form of skin cancer that mostly affects older adults. As with the majority of skin cancers, Actinic Keratosis is, at least somewhat, preventable by simply making use of that magical formulation we call sunscreen :)
Skin cancer, of any kind, is no walk in the park - ask any survivor that has been forced to fight that very difficult and scary fight. Will using sunscreen completely, wholly, 100 per cent protect you from getting skin cancer? No, unfortunately, there is no such mystical UV shield. However, there are precautions (super simple, easy ones) that you can take to at least reduce your chances of developing this disease, so why not take care of yourself and your loved ones. Take charge and tell skin cancer, ‘Not today, Satan!’
Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you will use! ZINC IT OVER is the best SPF facial mist that makes it convenient, easy, and fun. Additionally, enjoy the added benefits of extreme hydration, nourishing and natural ingredients, and 7 amazing scents. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!