Guess what? Summer is only days away! My heart skips a beat just thinking about it. For those of us living in the Pacific Northwest, sun is welcomed with open arms, especially after our long winter hibernation. As we put away our North Face raincoats, Hunter boots and Patagonia puffy vests and bring out our summer shorts, dresses and polos, be sure to grab a bottle of sunscreen!
A lot of us probably think that living in the Pacific Northwest we cannot get skin cancer because we rarely see the beautiful beaming sun. I would like to say that it is true, but unfortunately it is false. Did you know that UV light still makes it way through the clouds? Even on the most dreary days.
As we recognize Skin Cancer Awareness in the month of May, here are some great tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation to help protect our beautiful skin.
1. Seek the shade! Especially between 10am and 4pm when the sun is strongest. This will minimize your UV exposure. For those of us who train outside for long hours, we do not have the option of hiding in the shade. Sunscreen is very important!
2. Do not burn! I know this is hard. I am guilty. It seems that no matter how hard you try to apply sunscreen at just the right time, you still get burned. The Skin Cancer Foundations states, “A person’s risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any point in life.”
3. Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths! For many, the thought of bronzed skin is a sign of health. After staring at our sunless skin for months on end, all you want is a little extra color. Or you want to get a “base” tan before going on a trip to someplace sunny. The Skin Cancer Foundation states “Indoor UV tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than those who have never tanned indoors.”
4. Cover up with clothing! This is also very important for our little ones. Break out the visors, broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses and wraps.
5. Use Sunscreen! Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside or begining activity. Reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. For the best protection, be sure to choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30+.
6. Keep newborns out of the sun! Sunscreen should be used on newborns 6 months and older. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation “Children are very sensitive to ultraviolet radiation- just one severe sunburn in childhood doubles the chances of developing melanoma later in life.”
7. Examine your skin head-to-toe once a month! Moles and freckles come and go. How do you know if your mole is cancerous? If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately. To find out more about how to perform self-examination and spot a skin cancer, follow this step-by-step guide.
Jenn’s Tips and Recommendations:
1. Sunscreen Expires! Expired sunscreen leads to burns. Be sure to check the expiration date, not only at home but in the store too. The expiration date is most likely found on the bottom of the bottle.
2. Use Scape! When I go outside for my long run, bike or swim, I lather up with Scape 50+ sunblock. Scape is waterproof, sweatproof and noncomedogenic. Also full of Vitamin E and antioxidants which keeps your skin glowing. It smells great too!
3. Badger SPF 30! I know honey badgers don’t care, but I do! I looked for a product with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and stumbled upon Badger 30+ Chamomile Sunscreen for babies. If you are not sure what is the best sunscreen for your little one, check out Good Guide to help you decide.
Now that we are ready, bring on the sun!
Take good care and be well mamas!