May is Melanoma Awareness Month:

As the nicer weather begins to arrive, and we find ourselves spending more time outside it is so important to remember how real skin cancer is.  It can happen to anyone.

The harsh reality is that skin cancer affects 1 in 5 Americans, who will develop this by the age of 70. While it is a very serious fact, there are several steps that you can take to reduce that chance. The most well known way of getting your daily dose of Vitamin D is by getting outside and having the warm sun on your body. Another, safer way to get Vitamin D according to is from sources such as oily fish, fortified dairy products, cereals and supplements.

Did you know that by having 5 sunburns or more, you double your risk of getting Melanoma?  Ouch!

Using a SPF of 15 daily can drastically reduce your chance of skin cancer by close to 40% and 50% of getting melanoma. When choosing a sunscreen it is important to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen as it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. As previously mentioned that SPF 15 is good for daily use, however if you are planning to spend extended time outside, or going to be in the water or playing sport, you will need a higher more protective sunscreen such as 30 SPF and even water resistant.  An added benefit of SPF is to reduce the look of aging.  Some of my favorite sunscreen brands are made by Beauty Counter, not only will they protect you from the sun, but they also protect from harsh chemical ingredients, check out their Never List.

An easy way to reduce the amount of exposure you have to suns harsh UV radiation is through the clothing that you wear, hats and glasses. I’m sure you’ve seen clothing with the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) tags on it.  That’s the good stuff, clothing with a UPF 50 means that preventing 98% of UVA and UVB rays from contacting your skin, and reducing your exposure by quite a bit. The best part is, unlike sunscreen you do not need to reapply 😉 Pretty Cool Huh!

When thinking of how to prevent exposure to the sun, don’t forget your eyes. The sun can also damage your eyes, and 5-10% of melanoma diagnosis are eyelid skin cancer. A good reason to be mindful, and always wear sunglasses when it is sunny outside – not just fashion sunglasses, but ones that block out 80-90% of UV rays.  I’m a big Warby Parker fan.

Monthly self exams can be a great way to maintain a healthy body, but also find early detection of skin cancer. You see your body every single day, take a closer look and scan your entire body once a month and keep an eye out for any changes that you may see. Here is a great reference from on how best to go about this.

Whatever fun activities you have planned this summer, always remember to protect yourself against those harsh UVA and UVB rays!  I am personally a “Beach Bum” but to keep your skin young and healthy, protecting it every chance you get is essential!