Sammy Nickalls
June 04, 2015 11:51 am

Summer is in the air. The weather is getting warmer, and we’re all taking our activities outside whenever we can. Hello, barbecues and pool parties! But one important part of summer that people are totally forgetting: skin safety. That’s become sadly evident according to a new press release by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which states that since 1982, melanoma rates have increased. Like, a lot: DOUBLED.

So what exactly is melanoma? The deadliest form of skin cancer, that’s what. And it comes from the sun and tanning beds: over 90% of melanoma cases are due to ultraviolet exposure, according to the CDC. Back in 1982, approximately 11 out of every 100,000 people contracted melanoma, but now, that number has risen to approximately 23. “. . . without additional community prevention efforts, melanoma will continue to increase over the next 15 years, with 112,000 new cases projected in 2030,” the release explains.

“The rate of people getting melanoma continues to increase every year compared to the rates of most other cancers, which are declining,” Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH, and Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control said in the release. Gulp. “If we take action now, we can prevent hundreds of thousands of new cases of skin cancers, including melanoma, and save billions of dollars in medical costs.”

So what can do to prevent skin cancer? Sun babies, here are a few tips for soaking up those rays safely.

Want that sun-kissed glow? Use a self-tanning lotion or another sunless tanner.

It’s totally understandable to want that cute summer tan, but please, don’t lay out on a towel for hours on end to achieve it. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, using sunless tanners is a great way to get that “just-got-back-from-the-beach” look. . . without putting yourself at risk.

“I personally use these products and recommend them to my patients as a safe alternative to traditional tanning,” says Melanie D. Palm, MD, MBA.

If you’re going to be in the sun, wear a hat and clothes that cover you.

We know that it’s totally tempting to wear shorts and a tanktop to get those cute shoulder freckles, but, if possible, keep your body safe by putting a barrier between your sun and the skin. Going on an afternoon beach walk? Buy yourself a cute maxi and an awesome floppy hat. You’ll look super chic all while keeping yourself safe.

WEAR SUNSCREEN.

You’ve heard this a million times, but only because it’s true: you should always wear sunscreen when you’re outside, specifically one that’s SPF 15 or higher with UVA and UVB protection, according to the CDC. Slather it on, and make sure you get all the weird spots–have a friend or family member help you out with your back!

Remember: certain times of the day are more dangerous than others.

During the daytime, you should ALWAYS keep yourself protected, but keep in mind that the middle of the day is the most dangerous time. The sun is overhead, and it’s beating down hard. It may be tempting to lay out and tan during these times, but please, don’t. Make sure you find some shade. Your tender skin will thank you.

Skip the tanning beds. For real.

Tawny Willoughby, also a former fan of tanning beds, is now battling skin cancer, and posted a graphic selfie for all to see recently. Why? Because those who use tanning beds before age 30 increase their likelihood of contracting melanoma by 75 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Please, please, we love you: just don’t do it.

Summer is in less than three weeks, and we’re totally excited: but please, be safe!

[Image via]

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