Summer is coming! And so is that classic, sunkissed look. Having glowing, bronzed skin might be the iconic summer image, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The associated cost, of course, is the risk of getting melanoma or other skin cancers. Here are three facts you should know about melanoma before you soak up the UV rays this summer:
1. Sunburns increase your risk of melanoma.
Your chances of getting melanoma double if you’ve had five or more sunburns. In other words, choose to use sunscreen to protect your skin from burns or other sun exposure. Not only will your skin be spared a run-in with skin cancer, but it will also endure fewer premature aging signs, such as wrinkles and sunspots. Bonus points are given for choosing a mineral-based sunscreen instead of a chemical-laden one. Mineral sunscreens have come a long way, so you can easily find a good one that will both protect and effortlessly rub into your skin without leaving a white residue behind.
2. Tanning beds increase your risk.
If you’re planning to use tanning beds to ramp up your glow for the summer season or an upcoming trip, the stats are not in your favor: Your risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent if you use tanning beds. Instead, opt for sunless tanning options. This is another product category that has seen a lot of improvement over the years. Whether you opt for an at-home kit or a professionally applied spray tan, you can have beautifully bronzed skin without the sun damage. Just be sure to do your research and, whenever possible, pick the sunless tanning product that has the safest ingredients.
3. Melanoma is completely treatable if it’s caught early.
If you’ve already been a little rough on your skin due to sun exposure and damage, don’t fret. The five-year survival rate for melanoma that is caught in the first stage is 99 percent! Schedule a yearly all-over skin check-up so you and your doctor can track any changes to your skin. Many tests and treatments can even be done in-office during your routine check-up.
As you’re going about your summer fun this year, remember to include sunscreen, sunless tanning, and regular check-ups with your dermatologist in your plans. Your skin will thank you in the form of reduced risk of skin cancer, as well as fewer wrinkles and sunspots. We’ll call that “skin-for-the-win”!