In addition to today being the official first day of summer, the whole month of June is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Due to hormone levels and changes happening in the body during pregnancy, expectant women are especially vulnerable to sun damage, and should take special precautions in sunlight. Dr.Elizabeth Tanzi, skin cancer survivor and dermatologist with the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Surgery shares with us some hard-won knowledge about protecting yourself from the sun.
Dr. Tanzi's Top Summer Skin Safety Tips
• Get a full body screening from your dermatologist at least once a year.
• Perform a self-skin exam every 1 to 2 months—skin cancer detection is best done as a team between you and your dermatologist.
• Avoid peak hours of sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Liberally apply a broad-spectrum SPF that blocks both UVA and UVB rays every 3 to 4 hours when in direct sunlight.
• Absolutely NO tanning beds—ever!
• Look for SPFproducts that contain zinc and/or titanium because they offer good protection without irritation.
• Try double duty powder sunscreen because they apply like pressed powder so your skin looks great and is adequately protected from the sun. The built-in brush makes application easy on-the-go.
• Although you can't reverse sun damage from past sun abuse, it's important to continue proper sun protection strategies throughout a lifetime because the negative effects from the sun on the skin are cumulative.
• If a mole has been changing in size, shape or color, it needs to be checked right away.
• Visit the The Skin Cancer Foundation online for all skin cancer questions—it is the best resource I can recommend for information and photos.
P.S. If you haven't already seen it on Facebook or otherwise, check out this amazing video from the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund called “Dear 16-year-old Me.” An important message to spread to the young and old alike.