According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer by the age of 70. Skin cancer is the most commonly occurring form of cancer in America. While it can be easily treatable if caught in the early stages; prevention is the smartest and most cost-effective strategy available. Here are six tips from Dr. Langelier to help prevent skin cancer:
1) Wear sunscreen SPF 30+ every day
Mineral-based sunscreens (zinc and titanium) are extremely gentle around the eyes. Sunscreen helps protect against the two biggest factors for skin cancer: UVB and UVA sun rays. Sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 will protect your skin from approximately 97% of harm. Don’t like the way it feels on your skin? Come see us for a personalized sunscreen recommendation that you might actually enjoy wearing!
2) Layer your sunscreen
To achieve the labeled SPF, 2mg/cm2 of sunscreen must be applied, which is equivalent to a nickel-sized amount of product on the face alone. However, on average, only about a ¼ of that (0.5-1mg/cm2) is applied. To reach the SPF that’s on the label, apply your sunscreen twice or wear multiple products with sun protection in them. Remember to reapply every 2 hours for optimum results!
3) Don’t miss a spot
Here is how you should apply your sunscreen:
- Put sunscreen on your fingertips and spread the product between the finger pads of both hands prior to applying to the face. This is preferable to applying the product directly from the bottle to the face, which can result in excess and uneven product application.
- Application to larger surface areas such as the forehead, cheeks, temples, chin, and nose should be performed first.
- Using the remaining product on your finger-tips, a sweeping motion can be used to apply the remaining sunscreen to the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, inner corner of the eyelids, and outer corner of the eyelids. If the first application is thin, a second application should be performed after the first has dried to improve the density of the sunscreen application. Generally, mineral-based sunscreens do not sting or irritate the eyes.
If you are still unsure on how best to apply sunscreen, we have a specially equipped UV Camera that will check completeness of your sunscreen application.
4) Wear large frame sunglasses
The eyelids form only 1% of the body’s surface area; however, 10% of all skin cancers occur on the eyelids. Of all skin cancers found on the eyelids, 50% are located on the eyelid margins by the eyelashes. Make sure you apply a mineral-based sunscreen to your eyelids and protect them with sunglasses. The bigger the frames and closer the fit to your face, the better! Need a new pair? Come visit our optical shop for great frames, fit, and customized prescription.
5) Wear a large brim hat
A minimum brim size of 4 inches is preferable. This will help protect important areas like the back of your neck and forehead. However, make sure that you are still applying sunscreen, a hat will not completely protect you against harmful sun rays.
6) Add SPF protecting film to your car windows
UVB is blocked by glass, but UVA is not. Most vehicles, even luxury cars, do not have UVA protection. UVA radiation causes wrinkles and skin cancer and is able to penetrate most car windows. Skin cancer tends to occur at a higher rate on the left side of the face for people who drive frequently. You can get tinted or non-tinted UV blocking film added to your car windows.
Remember – UVA radiation is present even on cloudy days and in the winter. Just because the sun doesn’t feel hot doesn’t mean your skin isn’t getting burned!