In the April issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers from the Mayo Clinic are reporting a dramatic eightfold rise in the incidence of skin cancer among females ages 18 – 39 years old and four time rise in the number of men in the same age bracket.
The study looked at patient records spanning 1970 to 2009 from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a decades-long database of all patient care in Olmsted County, Minnesota. This study also shed light on the main risk factors that have perpetuated this tremendous rise in melanoma. At the top of the list is exposure to ultraviolet light (UV). UV light is invisible radiation that can damage DNA in the skin and can be generated by the sun, sunlamps and tanning beds.
Over the past 39 years, the rise in the use of indoor tanning beds is one of the main reasons behind the increased risk of melanoma, as well as childhood sunburns and UV exposure.
What can you do to decrease your risk of skin cancer?
Your risk for skin cancer is cumulative, which means that sunburns, extensive UV ray exposure and lack of sunscreen all contribute to increasing your risk of melanoma. Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps all together and instead use self tanner products or even consider getting spray tans. You can’t avoid the sun, but you can prevent its harmful rays from damaging your skin’s health and appearance by wearing sunscreen every day. You can even keep things simple by using moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or higher. Also use a lip balm with an SPF of 30.
If you have children, make sure you cover them in sunscreen before sending them outside to play. Even cloudy days can result in sunburns.
In addition to wearing a sunscreen, wear a hat with a broad brim and seek shade.
Here are some sunscreen brands we recommend:
• Aveeno and Neutrogena brand sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or greater. Aveeno brand sunscreens are more moisturizing, which is good for dry skin. Some of the Neutrogena brand sunscreens are best for oily and acne-prone skin.
• Piedmont Plastic Surgery and Dermatology carries Obaji Nu-Derm SPF 50 sunscreen for those with more mature skin.