National Cancer Prevention Month: Integrating Skin Cancer Protection into Your Routine
Most of us wouldn’t forget to put on clothes before leaving the house. (Hopefully!)
In addition to being stylish and preserving our modesty, clothing acts as an environmental protectant against a variety of elements, including the sun. However, while we’re pretty vigilant about at least putting on pants and a shirt before leaving the house (at least in winter!), not all of us reliably apply sun protection to the areas of our bodies that remain uncovered.
Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Cancer Society reports that approximately 5.4 million cases of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed every year. Between 78,000 and 100,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed yearly.
Sun protection can be the difference between clear, healthy skin and premature aging, dark spots, and a skin cancer diagnosis. If you forget to apply sunscreen in the mornings, here are a few tips that can help make it an automatic part of your daily routine.
Keep a bottle of sunscreen in the shower.
Sounds crazy, right? But how often do you remember to apply sunscreen to your ears and scalp?
Have a bottle of sunscreen in your shower caddy to remind you to put sunscreen on any exposed body parts that you don’t typically think about during the day. After your shower, blot yourself dry with a towel, then massage an even layer of sunscreen over the parts of your body that aren’t covered by clothes. These areas might include the following:
- Back of your neck
- Legs and feet
While you might not require extra sun protection on your upper or lower body during winter, this is still a good routine to follow in the summer months when more skin is exposed to the elements. Apply sunscreen generously to towel-dried skin and allow it to absorb as you complete the rest of your morning ritual.
Make sure your clothing is UPF-rated.
One of the most effective guards against sun damage is clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). While you might think your regular clothes offer a sufficient shield against the sun’s burning rays, many seemingly heavy garments aren’t woven tightly enough to filter out ultraviolet energy. Clothing with a UPF label is specifically designed to protect the skin from the sun while still being breathable.
Carry lip protection with SPF.
During the winter, a good lip balm is essential to keeping your lips moist, comfortable, and healthy. A good SPF lip balm also protects against lip damage that causes cancer.
Skin cancer of the lips is the most common form of oral cancer. Although the sunscreen you apply to your face should also include your lips, sunscreen wears off of the mouth area because we eat and drink throughout the day. Always reapply your lip balm after eating, drinking, or whenever your lips feel a little dry. Make sure to have a container of your favorite lip balm in your car, your desk at work, your purse, or your pocket at all times. (You can even buy keychains designed to hold your lip balm!)
Find a good sunscreen multitasker.
Even if you are fairly vigilant about skincare, sometimes it’s hard to know whether your sun protection is working towards your other skincare goals. The right sunscreen will offer more than just sun protection – there should be additional skin-nourishing ingredients, too. Here are a few products that support overall healthy and beautiful skin, regardless of skin type.
Skin Pigment Protection: IPL Bundle Pigment Correcting Serum & Sunscreen offers powerful sun protection and a healthy dose of pigment-correcting ingredients that target dark spots and other skin discoloration.
Antioxidant Support: WestDerm Water Resistant Liquid Mineral SPF 50+ (Sheer Mineral Sunscreen) is a great tool for boosting your skin’s natural restorative response. Full of green tea polyphenols, this sunscreen facilitates cell regeneration and has been shown to act as a guard against damaging cell inflammation.
Oil Control: For those with oily skin, sunscreen can feel like an added layer of pore-clogging, dulling grease. Not so with WestDerm Mattifying Mineral Tinted SPF 30 (Tinted Physical Sunscreen)! This lightweight product is an excellent option for people with overactive oil glands, featuring effective oil control and a multi-shade tint that lets you streamline your skincare routine while still retaining a fresh, smooth, and even glow.
Sensitive Skin Support: EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 is an excellent option for managing conditions like rosacea and acne. This gentle formula is fragrance-free and lightweight, helping to soothe and protect inflammation-prone, sensitive skin.
Having periodic skin checks is also essential to keeping your skin healthy and protected. To schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist, please visit our information page to find a clinic near you.