Summer Sun, Skin Cancer, and Your Normal Skincare Routine

How can your daily skincare routine help you to reduce the risks of skin cancer? Whether you’re an avid outdoors adventurer or you don’t spend the bulk of your day in the sun, you still need to protect your skin. Take a look at the skincare, cosmetics, and skin cancer questions to ask before you go into the summer sun.

How Serious Is the Summer-Time Skin Cancer Risk?

Skin cancer can develop at any time of the year. But the summer is typically the peak time for sun exposure. If you spend more time outdoors during the warm weather months, you may need added skin protection.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), one in five people in the United States will develop skin cancer. This includes over three million cases of basal and squamous cell cancers annually. Even though melanoma accounts for only one percent of skin cancers, according to the American Cancer Society, 2020 will see more than 100,000 new diagnoses in America.

While factors such as genetics may impact the development of skin cancer, sun exposure is a major cause. The ultraviolet (UV) rays can start to cause damage to unprotected skin in as few as 15 minutes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Even though this doesn’t mean 15 minutes in the sun will cause cancer, it does show the importance of protection every time you go outdoors. Over time, repeated unprotected sun exposure can lead to basal or squamous cell cancers as well as melanoma.

How Can Skincare Prevent Sun Overexposure?

If you can’t stay out of the sun, sunscreen is an easy way to protect your skin from cancer-causing UV rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) SPF 30 or higher sunscreen is recommended for extended outdoor activities. Research has suggested that it might cut skin cancer risk by 80 percent.

For maximum protection, your sunscreen should also contain zinc oxide, which protects from both UVA and UVB rays and it works right away, offering protection as soon as you put it on.

Even though sunscreen use can reduce the likelihood of developing some skin cancers, it isn’t guaranteed to eliminate the risk. Factors such as the amount of the product used, application technique, and the type of sunscreen affect the outcome.

While you might think to slather on sunscreen before you go to the pool, beach, or park, an SPF-containing product can further reduce the risks during everyday activities. Choose an SPF 30 or higher moisturizer as a base for your daily skincare routine. This type of product can add hydration, create a smooth appearance, and protect your skin from summer sun damage.

Apply an SPF-containing moisturizer liberally and bring extra along to reapply throughout your day. If you need added cosmetic coverage, consider a tinted SPF moisturizer. Along with your face, apply the moisturizer to your neck, ears, and other nearby exposed skin. In a pinch (if you forgot your regular sunscreen), you can also use this on your hands or feet.

How Can Cosmetics Reduce UV Risks?

SPF-containing moisturizer isn’t the only way to prevent unwanted sun effects. Foundation and powder products can also help to protect your face and neck.

Again, look for products that contain a broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher. While you don’t need to constantly coat your face in foundation or powder your nose every hour, if the product wears off or you need to go outdoors for extended periods of time, add a layer of a higher SPF sunscreen.

Do the Lips Need Sun Protection?

Skin cancer can develop on an area of the body—including the lips. Protect the delicate skin of the lips with an SPF-containing lip balm. Like an SPF facial moisturizer, this type of product adds hydration to your skin as it protects.

Do you need a full-body skin check? Contact Countryside Dermatology & Laser Center for more information.

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