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Skin Smarts: Protect your Skin before Laying Out

 I know, trust me I know, that the topic of skin safety is something that is constantly mentioned, whether its own segment on The Today Show, or a brief article in a newspaper. That being said, why is it then if this information is constantly being projected at us, that skin cancer is still the most common type of cancer, and the most readily preventable, in the United States? In 2007 alone, men saw a 2.6% increase in the number of cases of skin cancer while women saw a 3.2%(CDC).
            Horrifically enough, that number is on the rise with more people using indoor tanning beds and less people using smart-sun behaviors to decrease their risk of skin related diseases.
            So as a woman who has remained virtually translucent for 20 years of my life and as one who plans on remaining that way for the rest of it, I’ve found the two best ways to decrease your risk of skin cancer, and how to even get a nice bronze glow (safely of course!)
Avoid Tanning Beds:
How tempting are tanning beds? Laying inside for a small amount of time a few days a week and BAM your skin glows as though you just stepped off of a cruise to Bora Bora. How tempting are they now when you hear that they are a listed as a human carcinogen. Carcinogen. In fact tanning beds are on par with cigarette smoking. (Dermadoctor) Still, 1 million Americas are estimated to go to a tanning bed a day. That’s absurd! Not only do tanning beds cause skin cancer, but also wrinkles, varicose veins, decrease in immunity and other damaging effects (Dermadoctor).

Use Sunscreen:
That should seem pretty basic: just a quick extra minutes in your every day routine, yet admittedly roughly 70% of people in 2007 skipped out on applying sunscreen (CDC). What does sunscreen actually do? Sunscreen helps block out harmful UV’S that penetrate onto earth’s surface. According to USATODAY, both adults and children should wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and should use enough sunscreen to fill a standard size shot glass (USA). Don’t let the SPF number fool you though! The Skin Cancer Foundation has declared “numbers above SPF of 50 are unnecessary” (USA), therefore don’t rely on a high number to mean more protection.
There are clothing now that are made with UV protection material, so it wouldn’t hurt to invest in a hat or two to protect your hair (yes, your hair!) and face. Many people forget that lips can also get chapped, so make sure to invest in chap stick with an SPF of at least 10
So what’s a girl to do? Avoid tanning beds and use proper protection and potentially blind people with her glistening white skin? Absolutely not! (Well avoiding tanning beds and using proper protection? Definitely) Mandy Velez, a writer for Hercampus Pitt wrote a fabulous article last year giving you great, easy and safe ideas to get that perfect summer glow. Check it out!
I’m not writing this to be your mother, embarrassingly slathering sunscreen on your back as the cute boy runs by you on the beach. Come on ladies, it’s our skin, the biggest organ on our body. We have the opportunity and the ability to prevent the most common cancer in the United States: why don’t we?

Just your average 6'2'' czech girl with nine toes =)
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