Complements May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month


By Lashelle Kuhlman, licensed aesthetician, reconstructive & cosmetic surgery, Mount Nittany Physician Group

Did you know skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States? Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. The month of May is used to raise awareness about skin cancer and help people take action to prevent or detect it.

Make sure to protect your skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure and reduce your risk of skin cancer:

  • Avoid tanning. Consider a self-tanning product instead.
  • Check your skin. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately.
  • Apply sunscreen. Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need to apply sunscreen. SPF?

The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two types of harmful rays: long waves (UVA) and short waves (UVB). Basically, UVA rays can age us and UVB rays can burn us. You should use a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays. It is also best to choose a sunscreen that is water-resistant because most of our summer activities revolve around water and, of course, sweating. All labels are different on sunscreens, but generally you need to apply it 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.

With many different sunscreens available, the most common question pertains to what kind of sunscreen should be used. Many people believe that the higher the Sun Protection Factor (SPF), the better, but what type protects the best?  The higher the SPF ratings are, the more UVB rays are blocked but none offer 100 percent protection. While many focus on purchasing sunscreen with higher SPF numbers, experts have proven that SPF 15 sunscreen provides all the sun protection human skin requires. While many sunscreens offer higher SPF protection, experts say that once sunscreen goes past SPF 15, there is not much extra protection offered.  I always recommend at least an SPF 30 but what is important, however, is that the sunscreen is water resistant and work across a broad spectrum.

I really like Revision Skincare Intellishade and Colorescience Sunforgettable. These two brands are the most popular sunscreens that can be purchased in our office. Revision Skincare Intellishade is an anti-aging, tinted moisturizer that is used on your face. Revision Skincare Intellishade comes in SPF 45 and can be used as your moisturizer and your foundation. The best part about this sunscreen is it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as provides broad-spectrum protection. Colorescience Sunforgettable is a loose-powder mineral sunscreen. Use the brush to sweep the powder over your face and body, making it easy to apply and reapply. This as well comes as a broad-spectrum SPF and is water resistant.

Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. So take the opportunity to educate yourself and others on how to prevent and detect skin cancer.