Did you know that May is Melanoma Awareness Month? Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and rates of melanoma diagnosis are rising each year. It’s not a pretty fact, but it’s an important one to take to heart – especially now that summer is just around the corner. May is the perfect month to reassess your skin care routine, and to add sunscreen to your stash of must-use beauty products (if you haven’t been wearing it all winter, that is). So with Melanoma Awareness Month in mind, we’ve compiled a list of skincare tips designed especially to counteract the harmful effects of the sun’s rays and to keep your skin looking beautiful for years to come.
- Many wonderful lotions now contain sunscreen, making it even easier to apply your daily dose of UVA and UVB blockers. While it make seem counterintuitive, apply sunscreen as if you were going to the beach even when you’re just going to work. Don’t forget your hairline, eyelids, ears, and neck!
- Unless you practice the tradition of donning light gloves as daywear, do not neglect to apply sunscreen to the hands. So-called liver spots can be avoided to a great extent by keeping hands and arms protected from the sun year round with the liberal application of sunscreen.
- Sunburns, particularly sun damage that happens early in life, are associated with an increased lifetime risk of melanoma. You can’t go back and put sunscreen on your younger self, but you can start applying sunscreen daily even if you’ve never worn it before. It’s never too late to protect the skin you’re in.
- Make sure that your sunscreen or sunscreen-containing lotion is what is known as “broad spectrum.” Ideally, you should always use sunscreen that includes both UVA and UVB protection. UVB rays cause sunburn, while UVA rays cause premature aging – neither of which is conducive to beauty.
- When sunscreen is part of your daily beauty routine, you may be applying it after your morning shower. Keep in mind that sunscreen is most effective when applied to dry skin, so towel off before you apply.
- The sunscreen that’s right for you may not be right for your best girlfriend, so sometimes trial and error is involved in finding the perfect formula. If one brand makes you break out, toss it and try another.
- Makeup with sunscreen is great, but should be used over a moisturizing sunscreen lotion. The two-in-one approach is better from a protection standpoint because layering lotion over or under a high SPF sunscreen diminishes the effectiveness of the sunscreen. You’re better off going for a lower SPF broad spectrum lotion+sunscreen and reapplying frequently.
- Sunscreen, of course, is not a magic bullet, so don’t think that applying sunscreen in the a.m. means you’re still protected from melanoma-causing rays during your afternoon beach outing. Common sense is your friend when it comes to sunshine and beauty. In addition to applying and then reapplying sunscreen, buy some stylish sun protective clothing and a gorgeous classic sun hat to ensure that you’re as protected as possible.
Happy summer, and please pass on the Melanoma Awareness Month message!