May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Skin cancer is one of most common cancers in our society, although it is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Do you know that more than 90% of skin cancer is caused by excessive and/or unnecessary exposure to the sun?
Everybody loves the sun! However, just like anything else, you can suffer serious consequence from over-exposure. Here I am going to guide you on how you can protect yourself from sun damage. The acronym “SHADE” is a handy way to remember the keys to sun protection.
S stands for Sunscreen application. Use a moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher on a daily basis. Sun Protection Factor 15 provides protection 15 times longer before sunburn. Accordingly, SPF 30 provides protection 30 times longer. Make sure to use sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB.
H stands for Hiding from the sun. Skin is the largest organ in the body; it’s essential to preserve its function. Whether you stroll under the sun or enjoy outdoors adventures, wear sunglasses, a hat, and cover up with loose clothing. Also, make sure your sunglasses have both UVA and UVB blocking properties.
A stands for Away from the sun, Staying away from the sun is especially paramount between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., because this is when the sun is at its strongest, making this time the riskiest for sun damage.
D stands for Defense with antioxidants or daily supplements. Sun damage is characterized by generating free radicals and antioxidants (especially carotenoids) are powerful weapons that fight or “catch” free radicals. Build up your antioxidant defense by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and by taking a daily supplement. As research indicates, nutritional supplements can alleviate sun damage and ease numerous skin conditions.
E stands for Educate everyone. Remember, E is for education, not entertainment under the sun! Start with children and young adults. Instruct skin care equally to women and men. Regardless of gender and age, we are all exposed to the same sun. These days, the sun is even more unkind compared to two or three decades ago due to changes in ozone protection. Thinning ozone layers in the atmosphere cannot filter out UVA radiation and UVB radiation as well as they could previously. Therefore, skin damage happens earlier and at a deeper level.
Let’s recap the 5 ways that you can protect yourself from sun damage:
Sunscreen should be applied daily.
Hide behind the sun.
Away—stay away from the sun during its most intense hours.
Defense against the sun should include using a daily supplement.
Educate everyone—young and old, men and women.
Take home message:
The acronym SHADE stands for a set of effective weapons against sun damage. Armed with SHADE, you are safe when you enjoy the great outdoors on a nice, sunny day.