I know you are so sick of me bringing it up - but yes, I am going to bug you about your daily (that's right I said daily) SPF. I am also going to remind you to only use broad spectrum (UVA/UVB), mineral based sunscreen with a minimum of 30spf. That's right, and you probably remember me saying you should reapply every 2 hours of being out in the sun, and to stay in the shade where possible - and wear a hat. See you know all this stuff! So why aren't you doing it? "I'm so pale.", or "I need a little colour"… are NOT good reasons!
May is Melanoma awareness month. Melanoma is that ugly skin cancer monster that none of us want to even think about. Many don't realize that it can be fatal - mainly because it usually presents itself as a small mole or blemish and seems harmless, until it's not. Please remember to check your spots periodically yourself and once a year with a dermatologist - especially if you are at high risk.
Who is at high risk?*
- People with fair skin
- Those with a history of sunburns (even just 1 bad burn)
- People with excessive UV exposure (sun, tanning beds, etc)
- Living close to the equator or high elevation
- Those with many moles (over 50)
What to look for.*
To help you identify characteristics of unusual moles that may indicate melanomas or other skin cancers, think of the letters ABCDE:
- A is for asymmetrical shape. Look for moles with irregular shapes, such as two very different-looking halves.
- B is for irregular border. Look for moles with irregular, notched or scalloped borders — characteristics of melanomas.
- C is for changes in color. Look for growths that have many colors or an uneven distribution of color.
- D is for diameter. Look for new growth in a mole larger than 1/4 inch (about 6 millimeters).
- E is for evolving. Look for changes over time, such as a mole that grows in size or that changes color or shape. Moles may also evolve to develop new signs and symptoms, such as new itchiness or bleeding.
Cancerous (malignant) moles vary greatly in appearance. Some may show all of the changes listed above, while others may have only one or two unusual characteristics.
What do we do to prevent melanoma? Good question. We don't truly know for certain what causes it. We know that UV radiation exposure definitely increases our chances - but in some cases the melanoma has grown in areas that don't usually see the sun - Yes, literally "where the sun don't shine"!
So now what? The Top 5 Ways to Protect Yourself….
- Avoid being out in the sun for prolonged periods between 10-4pm (stop rolling your eyes, I didn't make this up)
- Wear your UVA/UVB broad spectrum sunscreen daily (number 1 protection against skin aging)
- Wear a broad rimmed hat when out in the sun (extra protection for that beautiful face)
- AVOID Tanning beds/lamps (seriously people it's not cool anymore)
- Buy a great pair of sunglasses that offer UV protection too
- Oh 1 more! Remember to reapply your sunscreen 30+ every 2 you're in the sun
Need help choosing a sunscreen?….Check out our video.
Special thank you to Julia Suppa from Suppa Media for her help and expertise with our video. @simplysuppa