No matter how much sunscreen you think you’re wearing — it might not be enough to protect against melanoma
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is becoming more prevalent in the United States. Basically, people still aren’t wearing sunscreen as much as they should be — and it’s causing melanoma rates to rise.
Plenty of modern sunscreens protect against both UVA (longer UV rays that cause the skin to produce more melanin) and UVB rays (shorter rays that primarily cause genetic damage to skin cells), yet we’re still not wearing it. We have all the knowledge of what sun damage can do to our skin and our overall health, yet we’re still not effectively protecting ourselves from harmful rays — and therefore the risk of melanoma — the way we should be.
The American Cancer Society says the rates of melanoma have been rising for the past 30 years. They estimate about 91,270 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year. Approximately 9,320 people are expected to die from it. If that isn’t a wake-up call to take a literal bath in sunscreen, I don’t know what is. Those numbers are a truly tragic reality.
While the hats, swim shirts, sunscreen applications and re-applications can be a pain in the ass, these things exist strictly to allow us to enjoy that Vitamin D, but not at the cost of our health. While cancer of the skin is the most common type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, melanoma only accounts for about 1% of skin cancers. But it does cause a large majority of skin cancer deaths.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using about an ounce of sunscreen to cover your entire body — smaller amounts if only parts of your skin are exposed. Every. Day. Yes, we all need to be slathering sunscreen on our exposed body parts every single day. They recommend using zinc-oxide or titanium-dioxide sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays and no less than a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30.
While it seems like people today are more diligent about sunscreen than prior generations, the sun’s rays are getting stronger. And we’re still not applying enough of it. So please, do yourself and your skin a favor — wear your f*cking sunscreen.