May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Protect Your Skin

When you’re having fun outdoors, it’s easy to forget how important it is to protect yourself from the sun. Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays in as little as 15 minutes. Yet it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.

Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage. Clouds do not block UV rays; they filter them—and sometimes only slightly. Remember to plan ahead, and keep sun protection handy in your car, bag, or child’s backpack.

Tan? There’s no other way to say it—tanned skin is damaged skin. Any change in the color of your skin after time outside—whether sunburn or suntan—indicates damage from UV rays. Using a tanning bed causes damage to your skin, just like the sun.

Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types, called basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are highly curable. But melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous.

Risk Factors

Anyone can get skin cancer, but some things put you at higher risk, like having—

  • A lighter natural skin color.
  • A personal  history of skin cancer.
  • A family history of melanoma.
  • Exposure to the sun through work and play.
  • A history of sunburns early in life.
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun.
  • Blue or green eyes.
  • Naturally blond or red hair.

How to Protect Yourself

Take precautions against sun exposure every day of the year, especially during midday hours (10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.), when UV rays are strongest and do the most damage. UV rays can reach you on cloudy days, and can reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Put on sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. The UV rays from them are as dangerous as the UV rays from the sun.

We are offering 30% off any sunblock this month to help you stay protected.

Kiss These Skin Sins Goodbye!

Bad skin care habits can increase your risk of acne, premature aging, wrinkles, and more. Some are habits you’re totally aware of and others are seemingly innocent things you do every day that can impact the health and beauty of your skin. Here are a few skin sins to shed, starting today.

  • Sun sins. Indoors or out, tanning is considered the number one skin sin no-no. Always, always use sunblock when you go outdoors and if you simply must have a little color, consider alternatives like sunless tanners and bronzers.
  • Lifestyle issues come to the surface. Too much alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate your skin and give it a dull appearance. Smoking has been reported to contribute to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. If you sleep less than 8 hours a night, you’re shortchanging your skin, which could mean dark circles under your eyes.
  • Don’t be picky. Resist the urge to pick that blemish. This quick fix can be nothing but trouble for your skin. It may look like you’re getting rid of the problem, but you’re actually pushing the bacteria deeper into your skin, which could lead to the formation of even more acne spots. Long-term picking can also create the possibility of scars—so stop picking, pronto. If you have acne-prone skin, make sure to be vigilant about skin care with the Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. System.
  • Put this bad habit to bed. Going to bed with your makeup on is a skin sin that can leave the entire day’s accumulation of dirt, grime, and oil on your skin to seep into pores, clogging them and putting you at risk for acne. Make a clean break with this habit by creating a healthy evening routine where you cleanse, tone, and moisturize.
  • Some like it too hot. You may enjoy a long hot shower, but your skin can’t take the heat without being stripped of its natural oils. This can result in dry, flaky, itchy skin. Eliminate this skin sin by turning down the heat and lingering less in the shower.
  • Let’s talk about your phone. Holding your phone against your cheek creates a warm and moist environment where bacteria can thrive, which can lead to skin irritations. Make sure to lightly wipe your phone off daily and alternate which side of your face you hold your phone against to minimize the risk of developing skin problems.