Taking care of our complexion doesn’t just include making sure we prevent acne, delay wrinkles, and fight dryness. It also means we don’t neglect it by actively preventing cancer-causing damage. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they’re 70. Below, we discuss how to protect ourselves from harmful – and potentially life-threatening – skin problems.
Types of Skin Cancer
The most well-known form of skin cancer is melanoma, which is also the most common type for men and women under 50. Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure is a major risk factor, as cancer forms when the light damages the DNA of your skin cells. Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
While those with fairer skin are at higher risk of skin cancer, it doesn’t mean we all don’t run some risk. The best ways to practice sun safety include:
- Wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs.
- Wearing hats that cover the back of your neck, ears, and face.
- Wearing sunglasses that protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays.
- Using sunscreen with at least SPF 30 – even when cloudy or overcast.
- Staying in the shade or carrying an umbrella to use as shade from the sun.
Avoid Tanning Salons
We love achieving that enviable sun-kissed skin, but it comes at a cost. Tanning beds or booths expose you to high levels of UV rays that can even burn the skin. Self-tanning lotions are an excellent alternative! And even better? A self-tanning cream that contains SPF. Here are our favorites:
- Supergoop Healthy Glow Sunless Tan SPF 40 ($38, shop here)
- Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer SPF 20 ($10.49, shop here)
- Tan-Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum SPF 30 ($56, shop here)
- Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam ($34.90, shop here)
- Beauty by Earth Sunshine in a Bottle Tanning Lotion ($30.99, shop here)
Know Your Skin
No matter your skin tone, be aware of changes to your skin. If you notice any changes in pigment or a mole that seems different in shape or size, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to get it checked out. What’s even better? Have a yearly checkup with the same doctor to keep track of all your moles. They will measure and photograph them for their records to make sure things haven’t changed over the past year.