Who Needs Sunscreen?
Everyone. Sunscreen use can help prevent skin cancer by protecting you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender or race. In fact, it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
What sunscreen should I use?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:
- Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher
- Water resistance
A sunscreen that offers the above helps to protect your skin from sunburn, early skin aging and skin cancer. However, sunscreen alone cannot fully protect you. In addition to wearing sunscreen, dermatologists recommend taking the following steps to protect your skin and find skin cancer early:
- Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
- Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, you may wish to use a self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
- Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, itching or bleeding on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.