Just like many others, we have been eagerly awaiting the return of summer! However, with summer comes the need to take extra precautions for the health of our skin. Did you know that each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined? That makes skin cancer the most common cancer in the United States. It is estimated by the American Cancer Society that about 106,110 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma in 2021, with 7,180 expected to die from it.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns, so it is incredibly important to wear sunscreen whenever you are outside. Just by wearing SPF 15 or higher when you are outside, you reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and the risk of developing melanoma by 50%.
Resources for Choosing the Best Sunscreen
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Americans have been enjoying the great outdoors more than ever before. However, because of inadequate regulations governing the safety and efficacy of sunscreens and the lack of safety testing needed to approve new, more effective ingredients for use in sunscreen formulations, store shelves will be filled with sunscreen products that either offer inadequate production or use potentially hazardous ingredients, or both.
It can be difficult to sort through all the labels and marketing tactics and pick the best sunscreen for you and your family. Luckily, there are many great resources out there to help you! One of the best resources is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Since 1993, they’ve worked tirelessly to protect public health and every year they test sunscreens for safety and adequacy for their annual guide. and release. This year, the EWG’s 15th Annual Guide to Sunscreens evaluated 1,800 products. Only one quarter of those products offered adequate protection without the use of harmful ingredients. That means that roughly 75% of sun protection products Americans have access to use ingredients that are harmful to our health or are misleading about the protection they provide.
It is also important to note that sunscreen regulations have not been updated since 2011. That is why we highly recommend reading through the EWG’s 15th Annual Guide to Sunscreens before choosing a sunscreen, moisturizer, or lip balm to ensure you and your family remain protected and healthy! If are looking for a specific product, EWG has created lists with the best products in each category. Click here to view them!
Remember, sunscreen should be your last resort! Follow these additional precautions to help you prevent getting a sunburn:
- 10am-2pm are the peak burn hours, so whenever possible, plan your activities for the morning or evening to avoid being exposed during this time.
- Wear protective clothing such as shirts with UPF protection, sunglasses with UV protection, and a hat.
- Spend time in the shade. If there is not shade available, bring and umbrella or a tent to create your own.
- If you are out in the sun, reapply sunscreen frequently.
- Avoid tanning beds, sun lamps, tanning pills, or any tan enhancing products.