Spring break is quickly approaching, if it hasn’t already come around for some of you. If you are planning on heading somewhere warmer, perhaps even tropical this post is especially for you. Here you’ll find some quick tips to consider before you leave. It’s easy to forget about skin care when you’re having fun, but hopefully we can convince you to think twice before passing up the sunscreen.
Before we get into the details of how to protect your skin we should first explain how important your skin is. According to the American Cancer Society the skin has many functions including:
- Covering the internal organs and protecting them from injury
- Serving as a barrier to germs like bacteria
- Preventing the loss of too much water and other fluids
- Helping control body temperature
- Protecting the rest of the body from ultraviolet (UV) rays
- Helping the body make Vitamin D
Looking at all the things the skin does for our body, aren’t you even more prompted to protect it? Protecting your skin is extremely important, especially because most skin cancers are caused by the sun’s UV rays. According to the American Cancer society, “More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States. Below are the different types of skin cancer.
BASAL AND SQUAMOUS CELL SKIN CANCER: This type of skin cancer forms in the outer layer of the skin in basal cells or squamous cells (hence the name). Most cases of this cancer develop in areas most exposed to the sun, which includes the face, ears, neck, lips, and the back of your hands.
MELANOMA SKIN CANCER: Melanoma on the other hand can form in any part of the skin, even those that are not exposed to the sun, for example under the nails. Melanoma can even for in the eyes or mouth.
OTHER LESS COMMON TYPES OF SKIN CANCER: Merkel cell carcinoma, skin lymphoma, Kaposi sarcoma, skin adnexal tumors, and sarcomas.
Skin cancers if found early enough are almost always curable. If you notice a change in your skin (i.e. changes in mole size or color) you should contact your dermatologist or other health care physician.
Here are some things to consider while prepping for your trip:
Pre-tanning – If you are considering a pre-tan before vacation try avoiding tanning beds altogether. The FDA notes “Indoor tanning is a known contributor to skin cancer, including melanoma (it’s most deadly form) and other skin damage.” Instead opt for a spray tan or self-tanning creams, mousses or gels.
Shopping for sunscreen – These are the three things you should be looking for when shopping for a sun screen: 1. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 2. broad spectrum 3. water resistant. Once on vacation remember to put sunscreen on at all times, whether doing indoor or outdoor activities. If you are doing outdoor activities remember to re-apply your sunscreen.
Medications – Yes, we’re adding this to the list as well. Chances are whatever your medication or vitamin regime is at home, will also be the same on vacation. Be mindful of the medications you are taking, as some can make you sensitive to the light.
The main thing to remember? HAVE FUN! But also to be safe and smart when doing so.