As summer is pretty much upon us, the importance of sunscreen and sun protection needs to be reviewed. Multiple studies show that as many as one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of a lifetime. When a family is struggling to keep up with the cost of living and daily bills, it can be difficult to protect themselves. But sunscreen programs and discounted items is available for lower income families as well.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer with more than 4 million cases diagnosed each year. 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV or ultraviolet radiation from the sun, and this can be prevented.
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer is vastly attributed to sun exposure. In fact, the average person’s risk for melanoma doubles if she/he has had more than 5 sunburns in their lifetime. If and when this ever occurs, people can seek help from many non-profits that offer assistance to cancer patients.
Preventative measures are key in reducing the risk of developing skin cancers. Some of this cost very little, if any money, to implement. There are coupons to pay for sunscreen, do it yourself tips, and other ways to help minimize risk. The following list offers some suggestions:
*Do not tan or using a tanning bed. Tan skin is damaged skin. Not only is it expensive to use them, but tanning facilities have been banned in countries such as Brazil and Australia. Eleven states in the United States prohibit indoor tanning for persons younger than 18 years. More than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States are linked to indoor tanning.
*Seek shade during the hours between 10am and 4pm when the sun is at its peak. This costs nothing to do!
*Do not allow your skin to burn. Apply SPF 30 with a broad spectrum UVA/UVB every day and every 2 hours when outside or after swimming or sweating excessively. Shop at discount stores for sunscreen, use coupons, and plan for this cost.
*Keep all newborns out of the sun.
*Check your skin every month or more frequently for changes in moles or new moles that may appear. Pay attention to the ABCDEs—asymmetry, bleeding, color, diameter and evolving (new changes) etc. to the moles.
*Have a dermatologist check your skin every year or more frequently if recommended. If you can’t afford the medical bills for this type of exam, look into applying for free medical or health care programs. Many dermatologists participate.
*Wear hats, sunglasses and clothing (there are pieces available with SPF woven in) when outdoors. Specifically cover the arms and legs. Wear a wide brim hat to cover your face, chest, ears and scalp. Even shop at a thrift store or clothing closet for discount items with SPF in them.
*Self-tan if you must have color—there are a slew of self-tanning products available for a wide range of skin tones. Note, this can be costly for the typical budget though, especially for low income families.
*Embrace pale or lighter skin—the sun is directly responsible for aging from sunspots, uneven skintone, wrinkles, etc.