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Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer incidences combined. Stop thinking melanoma and skin cancer only happens to other people and that if you get it, it is trivial to remove. Remember to wear sunscreen daily and to reapply every 2 hours or so.
If you need help applying sunscreen to your back and to other hard to reach areas, use the SunBuddy Lotion Applicator. It's compact, foldable, discrete, and can mean the difference between healthy and cancerous skin.
Myth: It's just a small melanoma mole. Just cut it off and I’ll be fine.
Reality: This may be true for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers that begin on the surface of the skin, but no so for melanoma. Melanoma occurs deep in the skin and can spread via the blood stream to major vital organs. Once the melanoma mole is removed, you may be still at fatal risk and may need advanced treatment.
Myth: If I get a small melanoma mole and have it removed, my skin will heal really fast.
Reality: Inches of skin around the melanoma site may need to be removed, often times leaving a long scar several inches long. Melanoma can deeply penetrate your skin, requiring the doctor to cut down all the way to the bone and leaving a concave hole that is visible even after the area has healed.
Myth: Only older people get skin cancer.
Reality: One in five Americans will develop skin cancer if the course of a lifetime. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old.
Myth: Skin cancer usually appears on your back and shoulders.
Reality: This is true for men, but the most common site for melanoma for women is on the lower legs. Another common area for skin cancers is the face and hands, where the skin is thin.
Myth: A "base tan" protected your skin.
Reality: There is little evidence that this is true. Any tan at all is a sign of skin damage and there is no such thing as a safe tan.
Myth: I need some sun or I'll be Vitamin D deficient.
Reality: While it is true that the sun synthesizes Vitamin D in our skin, too much sun exposure can break it down. Rather than taking the risk and soaking up direct sunlight without sunscreen, doctors recommend 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily and recommend consuming foods high in D, such as salmon, eggs, and fortified milk or taking a D supplement.
Myth: SPF 100 offers twice the protection of SPF 50.
Reality: The FDA is promoting the SPF cap to be 50. SPF 50 blocks 97 percent of UVA radiation, and there is little to no data that proves an SPF over 50 is more effective.
Myth: It's a cloudy or overcast day, so I’m not at risk.
Reality: This is not so. Although the UVB rays that make you feel hot and burning may be minimized, UVA rays are still full force no matter the weather. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Myth: Awareness has gone up and people aren’t getting skin cancer.
Reality: Melanoma has been on the rise in recent years and so has the use of tanning booths. One American dies of melanoma every hour and younger and younger people are developing skin cancer. In fact, melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in 15-29 year olds and the most common form in 25-29 year olds.
Myth: People with darker skin do not get skin cancer.
Reality: It is true that darker skinned people face a lower risk of skin cancer. However, they are more likely to die from it. Since darker skinned people do not easily burn, they have a false sense of security and often overlook early warning signs of skin cancer.
Know your skin type to beeter protect it from the sun. Match your skin to the color that best resembles your own.
The ad above is produced by the Cancer Institute NSW and tells the true story of a 26 year old young man who died of melanoma in March 2010. Wes was just like any other "normal young guy" and loved being active outdoors. He covered up the best as he could and never went to the beach intending to get a tan.
"Wes was a gentle and private person, mindful of taking care of himself," his parents said." He spent lots of time outside but he was always mindful to protect himself from the sun and wore hats, sunscreen and the appropriate clothing."
When Wes was 23 years old, he was diagnosed with melanoma of 1.4mm (0.05 inch) on his neck. Even though the melanoma was cut out, it had already spread to Wes' bloodstream and eventually, it spread to his brain. "I just thought, you know, you get it cut out, you'll be fine," said Wes' brother. "You see that many ad campaigns about skin cancer and melanoma, you sort of take notice, and you just think it's never gonna happen to you."
Wes' story closely reflects that melanoma is the most common cancer in 18 to 39 year olds. In all age groups, twice as many men men as women die of the disease.
Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world and it is a particular problem for men. According to the Cancer Council Australia, more than twice as many men than women die from skin cancer (1297 compared with 600 women in 2010-11). Young men are more likely to think their risk of skin cancer is low.
We here at SunBuddy, thank Wes Bonny's parents and brothers for sharing their story to help save others from the same fate.
After more than 30 years, the FDA has finally updated regulations for sunscreens. For years, mislabeling has caused mass customer confusion and misleading claims. With skin cancer on the rise, consumers have the right to know if their sunscreen of choice is safely and effectively protecting them from the sun’s cancerous UV rays.
The new FDA regulations require sunscreen brands to rework their labels and possibly their formulas because of new testing methods. Major sunscreen brands had until December 2012 to comply with the new regulations. So, the sunscreen products available today at your local retailer should include the updated labels to make it easier for you to choose the right one for you.
Keep in mind there quite a few changes. But in the end, it is a win-win situation for us, the consumers.
Here’s a summary of what to look out for:
Sunscreens with a SPF of 15+ can be marked to reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging.
Sunscreens with SPF 2-14 must now display a warning that the product has not been shown to prevent skin cancer or premature skin aging.
A sunscreen cannot claim to provide 2 hours of protection without valid data and tests to prove it.
Prior to the new FDA regulations, there was no standards regulating the term ‘broad spectrum.’ Thus, some sunscreen brands stated broad spectrum protection even if the sunscreen contained only a small amount of UVA blocking ingredients. In essence, the term ‘broad spectrum’ was more a marketing gimmick.
However, the new FDA regulations only allow sunscreens to be labeled as broad spectrum if they provide a SPF of 15 or higher and have passed a FDA-sanctioned test to prove protection against UVA and UVB radiation.
Proof versus Resistant
The terms ‘waterproof’, ‘sweatproof’, and ‘sunblock’are no longer allowed on sunscreen labels. The term ‘water-resistant’may be used if the sunscreen has been tested to protect the skin for 40 to 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. A disclaimer must be included to instruct the consumer to reapply after 40 to 80 minutes or to use a ‘water-resistant’ sunscreen if swimming or excessively sweating.
Although not a regulation, the FDA is promoting the SPF cap to be 50. The FDA claims that they have not found data that proves SPF 100 to be more effective than SPF 50. Therefore, consumers should not be misled that a sunscreen product of SPF 100 provides double the protection on a sunscreen of SPF 50. This is simply not true.
In the past, cosmetic companies have labeled their makeup products to include SPF and broad spectrum protection. Because the new FDA regulations that do not make a distinction between beach and cosmetic products, makeup products that claim sun protection are subjected to the same regulations and tests as sunscreen products. Thus, this will cause cosmetic companies to re-evaluate their claims and possibly alter their ingredients and labels.
The FDA has requested additional data from manufactures to determine if spray-on sunscreens are effective and/or harmful if inhaled.