May is a very important month to us here at DNA Skin NYC because it represents Skin Cancer Awareness month. We care about your skin and want to make sure that you protect it between appointments! “With over 5 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is America’s most common cancer. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.” It is so important to make a daily habit of applying sunscreen. Committing to protecting your skin on a daily basis will help your long term skin goals. Sunscreen will not only protect you from the sun’s harmful and damaging rays, but it will prevent signs of premature aging and sun-induced pigmentation. Make sure you are using a broad spectrum SPF if you can. If you need help choosing an appropriate SPF for your skin type, never hesitate to email us or stop in for a consultation.
Different Kind of Harmful Rays
There are two main kinds of rays from the sun and both kinds can irritate or damage your skin.
Contain the shortest wavelength and cause damage by tanning the skin. This will lead to DNA damage, premature aging and also play a role in creating skin cancer.
These rays cause sunburn and play a role in the formation of skin cancer.
What Do SPF Numbers Even Mean?
It can be tricky to know what kind of sunscreen to buy at the store. Higher numbers can lead to a false sense of security and many times cause beachgoers and “sun worshippers” to avoid reapplying when they should. The SPF number tells you how long the sun’s UV radiation would take to cause redness in your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. For example, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. An SPF 30 allows about 3 percent of UVB rays to hit your skin. An SPF of 50 allows about 2 percent of those rays through. That may seem like a very small difference until you realize that the SPF 30 is allowing 50 percent more UV radiation onto your skin. Under ideal conditions (like in a laboratory), sunscreen with higher SPF protection and broad-spectrum coverage offers more protection against sunburn, UVA damage, and DNA damage than comparable products with lower SPF values.
Skin Protection Tips
You can also reduce your skin damage by keeping these few simple tips in mind while you’re in the sun:
- Try to sit and walk in the shade whenever you can and keep in mind that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Wear sun-protective clothing, and accessories like a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection, whenever possible!
- Apply at least 2 tablespoons of broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing.
- Do not forget to apply sunscreen to forgettable areas – your scalp if your hair is parted, your ears, back of the neck, your armpit area, and the tops of your feet!
- Remember to reapply your SPF every two hours, if you’re going to be outdoors for extended periods of time and always immediately following swimming or sweating.
- Take extra caution when hiking or skiing at high altitudes or vacationing near the equator.
Skin cancer is highly treatable when detected early on. Remember the importance of self-skin checks and use the “ABCDE rule” regularly if you notice any unusual moles or lesions. Consider putting a reminder in your phone to check your skin every month.
One half unlike the other half
Irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
Variance in shades of color within one mole
Larger than a pencil eraser
If a mole or lesion starts to change
If any of these things above start to happen on your moles or lesions on your beautiful skin, please contact your board-certified dermatologist or doctor as soon as you can to have it checked!