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Six Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer within their lifetime, making it the most common type of cancer in the United States.  It occurs when mutations in skin cells cause them to multiply quickly and form a malignant mass.  The three main types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and melanomas. 

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among Americans.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the number one cause of skin cancer.  What people may not know is that UV rays from the sun can be just as harmful on cloudy or hazy days as on sunny days, and UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, and snow.  The hours between 10 am and 4 pm have proven to be the most harmful when it comes to UV ray intensity, and in North America, the sun's rays are more powerful during the late spring and early summer.  While some people turn to indoor tanning to avoid the damaging effects of the sunlight, ultraviolet light from tanning beds is just as harmful.

To help prevent skin damage from UV rays, people can engage in a number of healthy practices. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends six tips to reduce skin cancer risk:

  1. Avoid the use of tanning booths or beds
  2. Stay out of the sun during midday hours
  3. Dress in protective clothing that covers the arms and legs
  4. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the head, face, neck, and ears
  5. Wear wrap-around sunglasses that advertise UVA and UVB protection
  6. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 or higher

Related:  Vitamins for Skin: ACE Your Skin Care with ACE

Benefits of Mineral-Based Sunscreens

The best types of sunscreens are those containing zinc or titanium.  Because these types do not break down in sunlight, they do not absorb into the skin and disrupt hormones.  These sunscreens are non-allergenic and block UVA rays better than non-mineral sunscreens, making them a better option for skin cancer prevention.  Because they offer the best safety profiles, mineral-based sunscreens make the best choice for children.

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