Sunscreens, UV protection and annual skin checkups with the dermatologist, why should men be concerned with that? We’ll let the statistics talk. First, it is the third most common type of cancer in men after prostate cancer and bowel cancer. Second, in a survey conducted by the Skin Cancer Foundation, only 51% of men admitted to using sunscreen in the last 12 months and only 30% knew about the warning signs of skin cancer. Third, more men over the age of 55 are getting multiple skin cancers with many over the age of 20 already getting non-melanoma cancer removed. Studies also show that over the age of 50, more men than women die of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
Small Changes = Big Results
Since sunscreen came out in 1979, The Skin Cancer Foundation has always reminded people to use sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 and 30 or higher during hotter days. However, using sunscreen doesn’t mean you can sit around in the sun all day. There are a few more things you can do to save yourself from the high costs of treating skin cancer and the scary thought of having only 5-10 years survival rate.
- Stay Away From the Sun between 10AM to 4PM when it’s strongest. If you need to, be careful not to get sunburn, which can triple your risk of getting melanoma skin cancer. Take note, the real damage won’t show until several years later. You should also dress smart under the sun with a broad-brimmed hat, long pants, long-sleeved shirts and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Don’t Forget Your SPF. Sunscreen is not a mere cosmetic tool, it is made to protect your skin from UV sun damage. Years of sunscreen use and your skin will thank you in the years to come. A good rule of thumb is to apply a water-resistant sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors and every 2 hours of sun exposure. As mentioned, SPF 15 or higher with a broad UVA/UVB spectrum should be used. As to how much is enough? At least 1 ounce or 2 tbsp of sunscreen should be applied to your entire body.
- Need a Tan? Go for spray tans or sunless tanning creams instead of going to a tanning booth, tanning parlor or using a sunlamp. Avoid the use of UV tanning beds, which has been proven to increase your risk of developing the three types of cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and the most severe, melanoma. Be proactive and avoid UV rays in any form.
- Avoid Sun Exposure when on Medication. If you need to take antibiotics like tretinoin (Retin A) and tetracycline or diuretics and sleeping pills, stay away from the sun as certain medication can cause your skin to be extra sensitive to light.
- Get Your Skin Examined Every Year. Early detection can save your life and your bank account. Go see a dermatologist every year for an annual skin checkup. Also, if you notice new dark spots or moles or changes in your existing moles and dark spots, visit your dermatologist. While dark spots are non-cancerous, melanoma can be sly and start out with the appearance of harmless dark spots. If your dark spots are annoying to you, there are home remedies for dark spots such as lemon juice extract, almond, and buttermilk.