Skin cancer is more prevalent today than any other time in history. Baby Boomers have begun to show all the signs of being the largest generation with skin cancer. Little was said during their lives to help protect them from the heavy damage of the sun.
Excessive sun exposure is dangerous and everyone knows it. However, approximately 50% of people over 65 are diagnosed with melanoma or some type of skin cancer. When planning for an extended day outside make sure you put skin care products on the top of your list of right things to do.
Additional things to consider to help protect you:
1. I'll stay under the umbrella and not get burned.
If going to the beach - try to remember that the majority of the UV (ultraviolet) light bounces off the sand and water. Thinking that your beach umbrella will protect you is false security. Apply a sunscreen to any exposed skin including your face.
2. All sunscreens are the same.
Not true. Make sure you read the labels. Having a high rating does not mean it will protect you better. Look for a broad spectrum lotion that will block both UV'a' and UV'b' rays. Also try to find one with either Parsol 1789 or Titanium dioxide as an ingredient. Most people do not know that their suntan lotion has an expiration date? You better look because it does. Another important thing to remember is to re-apply your sunscreen every 2 hours. Waterproof sunscreen will not protect you completely although waterproof. It also needs to be reapplied.
3. My sunscreen provides protection completely.
I wish this was true however, you need to limit your exposure on the beach...try moving the time so that you avoid being there during the punishing 10 - 4 time period. Wear a hat with a brim all way around to protect your neck and ears. Baseball caps miss those areas. Popular today in the sunny states is clothing with UV ratings. These fabrics are generally very tightly woven.
4. Skin cancer is always Melanoma.
This is really false. Skin cancer comes in many types and degrees. If discovered early - Most melanomas can be removed during a simple office visit. The problems begin when it or any cancerous lesion is left untreated.
5. My family all had skin cancer.
Although an important fact this is not always the case. Generally speaking light skin, freckles and eyes that are light such as blue or hazel run a higher risk of skin cancer and wrinkles too. People with darker skin tones who tan easy are at a lower risk category but can still be vulnerable. Completing a monthly examination of your body using a mirror is important with an annual checkup by a dermatologist.
6. I don't go out in the sun much so I am safe.
Wrong again, Melanoma can also occur on moles and freckles. It has even been found on the sole or bottom of a foot.
Warning signs are a sudden change in the size, shape or color of a spot. DON'T WAIT! Have it checked. You mean too much to others to just let it go. It might not go away.