Using sunscreen daily, even when it is cloudy or raining, dramatically decreases your risk of developing skin cancer. This is especially true of the deadliest form, melanoma, which is responsible for the vast majority of skin-cancer deaths, according to UnityPoint Health. Sunscreen also slows down the development of wrinkles and leathery skin and helps keep skin tone even.
How effective is sunscreen at protecting against cancer?
Regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce a person’s risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40% and lower melanoma risk by 50%, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Although skin cancer is more prevalent in people with lighter skin, it does not discriminate and can still affect those with darker skin. In addition to wearing sunscreen, additional protection comes from wearing a hat, sunglasses, sun-protective clothing and by limiting sun exposure, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where do people often forget to apply sunscreen?
“Common places people miss are going to be the ears, your eyelids, your lips, your scalp, the top of your feet or places near the edges of clothing, such as straps,” advises dermatologist Jennifer Lucas M.D. on ClevelandClinic.org. Research has found that ears are the third most common location for skin cancers. Eyelids can be protected by wearing sunglasses.
What are some sun-safety mistakes people make?
Even when it’s cloudy, up to 80% of the sun’s UV radiation reaches the earth, thus going unprotected on an overcast day can lead to skin damage, advises SkinCancer.org. The best practice is to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outside to allow the sunscreen to bind to your skin. Reapply every two hours of exposure and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. No sunscreen is waterproof; they all eventually wash off. Sunscreens labeled water resistant are tested to be effective for up to 40 minutes of swimming.
If you do get sunburned, what’s the best way to heal your skin?
The first thing to do is get out of the sun and preferably go indoors, advises the American Academy of Dermatology. Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburned skin. Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce swelling, redness and discomfort. Make sure clothing covers sunburned skin when outdoors.