Skin Cancer is one disease that can be prevented, but according to a recent CDC report many people—young adults in particular—continue to ignore advice about preventing UV radiation from creating melanomas.
Tanning, in particular, is being attributed as a twenty-something vice that may lead to an increase in future skin cancers. Once marketed as safe, tanning can still cause burns, gives off UV radiation, and was recently (officially) declared by WHO to be a cause of skin cancer.
Besides being fashionable, being in the sun feels good. It triggers your body to create vitamin D, and tanning, at salons in particular, can actually become addictive. The trick is limiting yourself and being smart about it.
- In the summer, avoid getting too much sun in the middle of the day when rays are strongest.
- When travelling or hiking, remember that different places have different amounts of sun—higher in altitude/near the equator have more, and some cities may even be affected by their smog (whether it affects UV light or not the toxic air may increase free radical formation).
- Use sunscreen. Many healthier people avoid sunscreen because of the chemical content—it’s another one of those things you have to read the label for. Look for an old fashioned sunscreen with zinc or titanium as an active ingredient, and without fancy upgrades that use more chemicals (like aerosol spray or disappearing 100%—think back to age ten when there was a thin film of white). Of course, if you’ll only use the fancy kind that’s better than not wearing any!
- Start scheduling a yearly mole check. Make sure to cover in your hair, back, genitals, and bottoms of feet where most people are likely to miss a new cancerous growth. Caught early, melanomas leave minimal scarring and the development of skin cancer can often be avoided.
- Don’t ignore these guidelines if you have darker skin—while white people are more likely to get melanomas, people with darker skin are more likely to get skin cancer because they often think they are immune to UV radiation, and that can be a deadly presumption.
- When getting vitamin D making sun during the summer, try and do it in the early morning or evening, and adjust how long you’re exposed against where you’re located. Make it a social event and apply sunscreen whenever someone starts turning pink.
- Fight sunburns with aspirin (taken immediately its antiinflammatory effects can shorten and reduce the burn) and aloe vera. Once, burns got a dose of colloidal silver to help with healing, and many modern bandages that are for burns still include nanosilver.
Does the risk of sun cancer change how you spend time in the sun? Let us know below!