May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

With spring here, and summer just around the corner, now is a good time to make sure you protect yourself against the harmful rays of the sun. The months of May, June and July have more hours of daylight than any other time of the year. Not coincidentally, the month of May is skin cancer awareness month. Check out this article from the American Cancer Society to learn how to detect and protect your skin from skin cancer, including the proper use of sunscreen.

Always remember, no matter what your skin tone or type, no matter what the weather or season, it is important to apply sunblock every day. Make sure that your sunblock contains either Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, or Avobenzone (also called Parsol 1789). These three ingredients have traditionally been considered the only ones that provide broad-spectrum sun protection, shielding the skin from both UVA rays (the ageing ones) as well as UVB rays (the burning ones). For the face, try a lightweight facial sunblock like the new CliniqueCity Block Sheer SPF 25, the latest in Clinique's City Block line of facial sunblocks. You can also protect your face with a daily moisturizer or tinted moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher. And in the warmer months, when short sleeves and pants mean more skin is exposed, apply sunblock to your arms, legs, back, and any other exposed area. Neutrogena has launched their new line of Sun Protection products containing Helioplex (TM), which can also protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Try Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 30 or SPF 45, sun protection for the body in a lightweight, sheer mist forumula for easy application.

And while you're protecting yourself from those harmful UVA and UVB rays, don't forget to protect your children. As a redheaded, pale complexioned person, I can still remember the horrible sunburns I used to get every summer as a child. Consequently, I was the nerd who wore a t-shirt over her bathing suit at the pool, but that was the best my parents could do at the time because there just wasn't that same level of awareness of sun protection that there is today. And experts say severe sunburns from childhood often are the cause of skin cancer later in life. Now, however, there are many excellent sun protection products for children. Crunchy-granola brand California Baby offers Water-Resistant, Hypoallergenic Suncreen SPF 30 that won't come off in the pool or at the beach. And it's free of chemical sunscreens.Remember to apply sunblock at least 30 minutes before leaving the house, and always reapply after swimming.

Of course, if you insist on looking like a bronze goddess instead of Casper the Ghost this summer, self-tanners are the way to go. There are many great formulas that look natural, not orange. Origins' Great Pretender Shimmery Self-Tanner for Body uses sugar-derived DHA to create a natural-looking tan. Use their Faux Glow Radiant Self-Tanner for the Face to ensure that your face matches the rest of your body.

In addition to preventing skin cancer, another benefit of using sunblock is that it prevents premature ageing of the skin. Skincare experts agree that there is really no such thing as an "anti-wrinkle cream," except for sunblock. So if you spend a lot of time outdoors and don't want to end up looking like one of the California Raisins, don't forget to "block up" before you leave the house. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of tretinoin.

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