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Dr. Jeannette Graf on 5 Ways to Lower Your Skin Cancer Risk: In Honor of Skin Cancer Prevention Month

We’re all excited about Summer being just around the corner – but that also means it’s important to amp up our skin protection measures against the sun’s harmful rays. By now you know the drill on practicing safe sun—see your dermatologist once a year for a full-body screening; apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outdoors; choose SPF 30 or higher for maximum protection; reapply sunscreen every 2 hours as well as after swimming and/or sweating.Dr. Jeannette Graf on 5 Ways to Lower Your Skin Cancer RiskIt’s no secret that melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, generic cialis sick in 2015 approximately 73, cialis canada clinic 870 new melanomas will be diagnosed and about 9,940 people are expected to die from it. In honor of Melanoma Monday (May 4, 2015) and National Skin Cancer Prevention Month (May is designated by the American Academy of Dermatology to raise awareness of all skin cancers), leading dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf suggests 5 steps to keep you healthy and safe in the sun.

  1. Ditch the tanning bed (especially for minors!). State Senator Brad Hoylman is about to introduce legislation to make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to use an indoor tanning bed in New York State. If passed the bill will join other states like California and Connecticut, following The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer of 2014, which among other research shows evidence that indoor “tanning at younger ages appears to be more strongly related to lifetime skin cancer risk.” In fact, the U.S. lags behind several Europeans countries that have banned indoor tanning for minors, including the U.K., Spain and Germany. Brazil was the first country in the world to prohibit cosmetic tanning across its full population.
  1. Fake a tan with a sunless tanner. A recent study from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, shows that nearly 40% of the 415 women surveyed who reported using self-tanning formulas tended to cut back on time spent in the sun and frequenting tanning beds. Especially if they had used self-tanners at least five times in the last year. While minimizing exposure to UV rays can help to lower skin cancer risk, you also need to be sun-smart about using sunless products for a faux glow. You still need to protect your skin whenever you go outdoors. One to try: Avène Moisturizing Self-Tanning Lotion.
  1. Stop smoking. A recent study has discovered a link between tobacco use and skin cancer. The research shows that women with squamous cell carcinoma—the second most common form of skin cancer—were more likely to be smokers than women who did not have this disease. Those women who had smoked for at least 20 years were also twice as likely to develop this skin cancer. Although squamous cell carcinoma is less aggressive than melanoma, it is also disfiguring and capable of spreading to the lymph nodes if left untreated. It accounts for 90% of all head and neck cancers, with the lower lip being a common site.
  1. Steer clear of UV lamps to dry gel manicures. If you’re slipping your hands under a UV lamp nail dryer in an effort to speed up drying your nail polish, here’s a reason to rethink this. An Archives of Dermatology article cited two women who developed non-melanoma skin cancer after repeated exposure to UV lamps to dry gel manicures. One solution: take sunscreen with you to the salon and apply generously to hands before drying nails. “Broad-spectrum sunscreens—formulated to filter out UVA and UVB rays—offer the best protection,” says Dr. Graf. “Two options to try are the new Avène Mineral Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ for face and body, which is a 100% mineral based sunscreen with no nano mineral particles and formulated for sensitive skin that is easily irritated by chemical sunscreen ingredients, and Glytone Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40, a PABA-free, mineral based formula.”
  1. Protect your skin from the inside. To enhance a sun-smart lifestyle, Dr. Graf says, “I recommend natural sources of Beta-Carotene instead of Vitamin A supplements as a safe and beneficial way of getting Vitamin A. This is because Beta-Carotene is a precursor of Retinol and can be converted to Vitamin A when the body needs it. Beta-Carotene is also great for strengthening the immune system, particularly of the skin. Rich sources include carrots, dark greens and spirulina.” Along with good sun safety habits, a balanced diet with adequate levels of antioxidant-rich foods—including sources of Beta-Carotene—can help to keep skin healthy and aid in the fight against skin cancer.

 

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