Hey ladies, please read this! And before you set foot outside in the sun, you MUST put on a serious sunscreen!
Here's why now more than ever you must wear sunscreen and here's how to choose the very best sunscreen to keep you safe. The bottom line - deadly skin cancer is an epidemic among young women. Young women are getting melanoma- the deadliest form of skin cancer- at a rate of 50 percent more, than just a few years ago. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for women 25 to 29 years old, and second most common for women aged 39 and under. Additionally, up until age 39, women are almost twice as likely to develop melanoma as men! About 65 percent of those cases can be attributed to UV radiation from the sun, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Consider this - the earth's ozone layer is depleting, allowing more skin-damaging UVA rays through and yet women are still sitting out in the sun unprotected. And #2, they are using tanning beds which increase the risk of developing super deadly melanoma skin cancer by 75%, according to NYC dermatologist, Dr. Bruce Katz, of the Juva Skin and Laser Center.
"I just did a biopsy of a 24 year-old woman's mole, and the diagnosis came back as melanoma today," Dr. Katz told me. I'm seeing more and more young women in their 20's with melanoma." And if it's not caught in the early stages before it spreads, melanoma is a death sentence.
"I just saw a 17 year-old girl who had a melanoma," NYC cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Patricia Wexler added. "I'm also seeing far more basel cell cancer in women in their 20's and in young women, it can behave more aggressively. Women have to treat skin cancer with respect." The number of women diagnosed with basal skin cancer has more than doubled in the past 30 years, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.
That means - stop using tanning beds, which pound your skin with far more UVA rays than you'd get from the sun. And only go out in the sun wearing what NYC dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel, a clinical dermatologist at NYC's Lenox Hill Hospital, describes as a "broad spectrum" sunscreen, that protects against BOTH harmful UVA and UVB radiation. You increase your melanoma risk exponentially by getting sunburnt more than five sunburns, at any age!
Here's the second HUGE benefit you'll get from becoming a SUNSCREEN addict - you will prevent your skin from aging prematurely. "I see young women coming in everyday with skin that is irregularly pigmented. Their skin is brown and red, their pores are stretched out and their faces are losing elasticity," reveals Dr. Wexler. "And that is all premature sun damage." Ewww!
Unfortunately, these risks continue as women age! While it may be the most common cancer among young adults (25-29) and women under 40, it is still a very serious issue. Top doctors emphasize the importance of women over 40 getting screened for skin cancer, and being aware of all moles and abrasions that may appear slightly abnormal. So, you are better safe than sorry!
Clearly, this is not just a concern for young people during the summer -- it is a serious issue for everyone!
So if you don't want to look older than your years or face deadly skin cancer - here are the tops Do's and Don'ts from Dr. Katz, Dr. Sobel and Dr. Wexler, plus a choice of sunscreens rated the Best of the Best by Consumer Reports!
Do: wear broad spectrum sunscreen EVERYDAY, whether you plan to be in the sun or not.
For days in the office, an SPF of 15 is fine.
For outdoor days - wear a minimum of SPF 30, or even better, an SPF of 45.
Do: apply sunscreen at least a half hour before going in the sun so it can absorb into the skin,before you go in the sun.
Do: RE-APPLY sunscreen every 2 1/2 to 3 hours - it sweats off.
Re-apply after going in the water. "There is no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen," says Dr. Sobel. "Some may be more water resistant than others - that's it."
Do: apply sunscreen generously - a tablespoon minimum for your face.
Don't: forget to cover all sun exposed areas - like your feet, ankles, ears, back of your neck and behind your ears.
Don't: think that cloudy skies or sitting in the shade means you're protected. Plenty of rays will hit you in both cases.
You can even get burned sitting inside beside a sunny window.
Do: wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection - Dr. Wexler warns- you can get melanomas in your eyes.
Do: wear a full brimmed hat to shade your face.
Do: wear SPF-enhanced clothing for jogging and sailing outside - you can get burned right through your clothing!
Do: try one or two of these recommended sunscreens here - they were top rated by Consumer Reports!
So do have fun this summer, but protect your skin and health while you do it!
Follow Bonnie on Twitter! @BonnieFuller