5 Tips to Avoid Skin Cancer

5 Tips to Avoid Skin Cancer

Is sun tanning good or bad?

This is a loaded question, I know, but you may be surprised by my answer. Living in California, we may assume we are getting too much sun, but I would beg to differ that you are not getting enough.

Sun tanning became popular in the 80s and quickly grew into a dangerous past time of cooking oneself, lathered in baby oil. Unfortunately, the dangerous aspect of this, carcinogenic melanomas or skin cancer, develops slowly and can often go unnoticed for 30 to 40 years.

Ultraviolet rays are responsible for damaged skin, as they actually alter our DNA. If you recall in biology that there are 4 bases in the DNA double helix: A for Adenine, C for Cytosine, G for guanine, and T for thymine. Well, ultraviolet light has the ability to fuse two of those bases together into what's called a dimer, not important to know. But what is very important to know is that a dimer cannot fit into the double helix and can cause mutations in our DNA.

The more mutations, the higher the risk of cancer and hence the big scare for sun cancers. However, before you go into hiding with bumble bee sunglasses and SPF 50 sun shirts, listen to this.

Tanning develops the melanin in the skin which can protect you against those dimer mutations. Yes, tanning can actually prevent sun cancer and it turns out many of the sunscreens we are using are more carcinogenic than the sun itself.

Please don't run for the baby oil, ultraviolet rays can still damage your skin, induce wrinkles, and pose threats of skin cancer. I know it sounds like a catch 22, but it's honestly yet another practice in moderation.

Here is what I recommend you do to make sure you are getting a careful light glow that will help prevent seasonal sadness, boost your Vitamin D levels, and not lead to sun cancer.

5 Tips to Avoid Skin Cancer

  1. Make sure to get 15 minutes a day of uninterrupted sunlight on bare skin. This does not need to be on the face.
  2. Avoid the hours with the strongest ultraviolet rays between 10am and 4p in the hot summer days, and 11a-3p in the winter months.
  3. Check the EWGs Guide to Sunscreen to make sure your sun screen is not more carcinogenic than the sun.
  4. Use a natural lubricant on dry skin like coconut oil that has natural sunscreen in it. Although coconut oil is not sunblock, it does have an SPF of 4 which blocks the sun for about 45 min in the weak hours.
  5. Eat a healthy diet rich in omega's and essential fatty acids to promote healthy skin. The cholesterol in your skin is converted into Vitamin D and further protects your skin from skin damage.

Hope these tips help you stay healthy and enjoy your daily sunlight safely!

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