May is skin cancer awareness month… some of you may have even celebrated Melanoma Monday (the first Monday of May). Pretty soon, we’ll be welcoming summer to sunny San Diego with open arms.
Are you feeling like Casper the ghost as we head out of winter and spring? Thinking about hitting up the nearest tanning salon to get a pre-summer glow? DON’T DO IT!! According to The Panama City (FL) News Herald (5/7), “Sunburns and tanning beds are two of the greatest risk factors for melanoma.” In fact, a column posted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (5/3) details a 40 year study that showed the incidence of melanoma in “women ages 18 to 39 increased eight-fold.”
Melanoma, when caught early, can be treated successfully. However, the article featured in The Panama City (FL) News Herald (5/7) points out that malignant melanoma causes “about 75 percent of all skin cancer fatalities.” So what can you do to lessen your chances of getting a skin cancer?
Limit your sun exposure. Try to avoid prolonged sun exposure during the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM, and absolutely avoid tanning beds! When you are outdoors, wear protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats, rash-guards and sunglasses. Make sure to apply sunscreen liberally 30 minutes before going outdoors. We recommend a cream or lotion of SPF 30+ for the first application. Sprays can be used for re-application throughout the day. Sunscreen should be re-applied every 1-2 hours. See your dermatologist regularly for skin checks, or anytime you’re concerned about a spot that won’t go away, or is changing in size, shape, color, or if it is itching or bleeding.
Enjoy the beautiful California sunshine, but do it safely!