May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, a good time to make skin care and sun protection a top priority while counting down the days to warmer weather. With over one million people diagnosed with skin cancer each year, every woman needs to pay close attention to how they are caring for their skin. Though an effective skin management routine doesn’t guarantee you won’t get skin cancer, it does reduce your chances significantly.
I have always had fair skin and tend to burn easily when exposed to the sun. The extra care I take is a little annoying at times but is better than suffering with stinging sunburn and prematurely aging skin. My heart aches for these young girls who are in the tanning beds at least two times a week and soaking up the sun in between. They walk around with their bronzed skin thinking that the color makes them sexier than their pasty-white friends. Little do they know at their ten-year reunions, they will be the oldest looking of the bunch.
Regardless of the wide spread awareness and available resources, 70 percent of American adults do not take sun-protection measures. The American Skin Cancer Society encourages everyone to cover up with the right sun protective gear and take extra steps to protect their skin during outdoor activities. Most skin cancers appear after age 50, but skin damage from the sun begins at an early age. Therefore, protection should start in childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life. I am always harping on my kids to use sunscreen when outside for any length of time. It’s one of those things worth nagging about.
Foundations and SPF
Fortunately, most foundations come with a built in SPF of 15 or higher; the problem is getting everyone to use it. Many woman and teens forgo base makeup because they think it is too heavy. The choice to not use foundation comes with a price in that it not only gives you a primer for your other makeup, but it protects your skin from environmental impurities. And without the sunscreen, your face, neck, and chest are the most vulnerable to the sun’s damaging UV rays. Even if you don’t want to use foundation, do find a moisturizer that has an SPF of at least 15.
Pasty by Choice
I was happy to find a fun promotional product on the web that encourages women to embrace their true skin color and share their natural, pale beauty with the world. The Pasty by choice campaign also urges women to see dermatologists annually, to wear sunscreen every day, and to protect themselves from the hot sun. Pale is the new tan, according to founders Cindy Patrick, a survivor of melanoma cancer, and her dermatologist, Shawn Sabin. “You don’t have to change your lifestyle, just change how you protect your skin,” Patrick said. “Choose to be pasty and have beautiful skin.” T-shirts can be purchased at pastybychoice.com.
If you have any product recommendations for either skin cancer awareness or for those with pale skin, please let us know. Your stories are welcome as well.
Resources: The University of Maryland Medicine and pastybychoice.com