May is shaping up to be one heck of a busy month for awareness campaigns! Not only is May National Speech & Hearing Awareness Month, the 30 X 30 Nature Challenge and Mental Health week, it is also International Skin Cancer/Melanoma Awareness Month!
The skin is your body’s largest organ, protecting you from heat and and injury while controlling your body temperature and getting rid of waste materials through your sweat glands. In addition to storing water and fat, your skin also makes Vitamin D.
Skin cancer is often divided into two categories: 1) Non Melanoma and 2) Melanoma. Melanoma is the more serious of the two and less common; however, there are numerous risk factors that may increase your chances of being diagnosed with skin cancer such as:
- Sun and ultraviolet radiation (tanning beds)
- Numerous moles and atypical moles
- Fair complexion
- Personal/Family history of skin cancer
- Weakened immune system
- History of severe blistering sunburns and more
A huge misconception out there is that folks with darker skin like myself don’t need to worry about sunscreen or other preventative measures. Well I’m here to tell you folks, cancer doesn’t discriminate!
Personally, I suffer from hyperpigmentation, discolouration and acne scars so it’s important to me to follow a pretty simple skincare regimen to keep my skin summer-ready! Weekly exfoliation and of course moisturizing are key to keeping me looking chocolaty smooth!
Here are some skin care tips for everyone to follow, minimize the risk for skin cancer and be #SunSafe:
- Use sunscreen. Do your research though, they are not all the same. Using SPF 1000 doesn’t make you invincible! Buy it because it does the job not because its the cheapest and smells pretty, it’s still a chemical on your skin.
- Minimize your time in the sun. I know this is a tough one, especially for those of us that have winter for most of the year! The hottest part of the day is the most damaging, so do what you can earlier or later in the day during the cooler hours.
- Wear a hat and/or sunglasses. Protect those beautiful eyes and that hair!
- Give your skin a break from time to time. Ladies, go fresh faced, no makeup once in a while!
- Drink water. Lots of it! This is a given and one of the most important tips! It’ll hydrate you and get rid of toxins.
- Eat healthy foods. Colourful fruits and veggies are the best, in addition to whole grains, proteins and essential fats.
- Examine your skin on a regular basis. “Check yourself before you wreck yourself” as they say! Look for irregularities and get them checked out by a medical professional as required.