ECG beach skin cancerSkin cancer, the most common of human cancers, affects over one million people in the United Stated each year. Cancer happens when normal cells change to grow and multiply outside normal limits. The three major kinds of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. Most skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cells carcinomas. Although malignant, these kinds usually don’t to spread to other areas of the body. Malignant melanoma, on the other hand, is a very aggressive cancer and spread to other parts of your body. These cancers may be fatal! Bottom line: you don’t want skin cancer!

So what can you do to avoid skin cancer. Some simple things that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  • Stay in the shade! Especially during the really hot midday hours, 11-3:00, keep it cool and stay indoors or in a well shaded area. This means that you on the beach need to cover it up.
  • Cover up arms and legs! The things that you want to tan are the things that will burn. Don’t toast your flesh. Wear clothing during the hot hours that covers up some of that sexy skin.
  • Wear a hat! Always a good idea when outdoors, and a very good idea when on the beach. Try a big beach hat, one that covers the neck and shoulders, but even a baseball cap is good if you add sunscreen to it.
  • Wear sunglasses! Your eyes are a precious body organ. Make sure that sun rays don’t damage them. The best are wrap around types that block both UVA and UBV rays. Great for the beach. And can be very “cool” looking.
  • Wear sunscreen! Very important these days. Back in the day people didn’t have sunscreen, but now we do — so use it. Make sure you use a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, and make sure it covers both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid indoor tanning! I know that you like to be a little brown when you go to the beach, but it’s not worth it. Claims to the contrary, indoor tanning has been shown to cause skin damage. Don’t risk it. There are plenty of tans in a bottle these days that look great.

Some great tanning cremes are on the market now. Not the old orange-fake types that we had in the past. Today, these tans from a bottle are virtually indistinguishable from real life flesh-burning tans. Here are some types you might want to try. Keep it safe but don’t loose that tan beach look:

  1. Cosmetic Bronzers and Other Wash-Off Products add a bronzed glow to face and body. You can wash them off later in the day. They come in powder or gel or spray-on forms.
  2. Sunless Tanners such as Lotions, Sprays, Gels, and Mousses. These contain a safe “sugar” that engages with epidermal protenins, the outer skin, to create a dark skin color, a fake tan so to speak. AS the dead skin cells fall off, the tan fades in 3 to 7 days. They come in lotions, gels, sprays, or mousse and can be found at most drugstores and department store cosmetic areas.