Learn about SPF, skin cancer, and sunburn prevention with this #NoFilter edit focusing on Skin Cancer Awareness Month!
What is Skin Cancer?
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost skin layer, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations.
These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. The main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).
The two main causes of skin cancer are the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and the use of UV tanning beds.
Why SPF is Important
With over 5 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is America’s most common cancer.
Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Common Sun Protection Myths
The most common myths is that SPF is only needed for outdoor activity. Sun protection is non-negotiable 365 days a year, no matter where you are, what you’re doing, or what the weather.
Another myth is that people with rich or deep skin tones don’t need SPF. This is a huge falsehood. While deeper skin tones have more melanin and natural protection from the sun, it doesn’t mean they don’t need sunblock.
Lastly, there’s a common misconception that having SPF is enough sun protection from harmful UV rays. This isn’t true either: SPF only measures your protection from sunburn caused by UVB rays.
For more optimal protection, SPF should be used in conjunction with other forms of sun protection such as clothing, hats, sunglasses and being mindful of time spent in the sun.
For more information, see the Skin Cancer Awareness Month page made by the Skin Cancer Foundation here.