May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Fortunately, your risk of developing melanoma is 50% lower with the use of daily skin protection, and with summer right around the corner, this is especially important to keep in mind. So whether or not you plan on heading to the beach this summer, here are some summer skin care tips.
Pick the right sunscreen
SPF stands for sun protection factor and indicates how long the sunscreen will prevent sunburn. For example, when you apply SPF 15 sunscreen, your skin will take 15 times longer to burn than if you were to go without any protection whatsoever. Most dermatologists recommend sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. The best sunscreens will protect against not only UVB rays, but also UVA rays (although the majority of sunscreens don’t). It is also important to make sure the sunscreen you choose is labeled “broad spectrum.”
Use the right sunscreen right
Proper sunscreen use begins before you even head outdoors. Your first application should be 30 minutes before your skin is ever exposed to the sun. This should be followed up with reapplications every two hours for the remainder of your time outdoors. This is especially critical if you are going in and out of the water or sweating excessively. However, these rules do not apply to children under six months. Doctors do not recommend sunscreen use on infants. Therefore, exposure to the sun should be kept at a minimum.
Know Your Skin
When it comes to diseases like melanoma, prevention can often be the best treatment. It is advisable to regularly monitor your skin for sudden or irregular changes. This could take the form of moles, bumps, or spots. Even if you don’t identify anything concerning, yearly checkups are a great step in melanoma prevention.
Sometimes, even if you do everything right, sunburn just can’t be avoided. If you do find yourself the recipient of a few too many rays, there are a few key steps you can take. Start by placing cool or damp cloths on the affected area, or by taking cool showers and baths. Aloe vera can also be of tremendous help to those with sunburns. Apply this regularly and generously. Most importantly, stay hydrated. Hydration can help prevent headaches and fatigue caused by sunburns.