Cancer doctors caution that most people do not hold basic knowledge on choosing the proper sunscreen and how to apply it. Ignorance exposes many of us to a high risk of developing a deadly form of skin cancer also know as melanoma, doctors explained.
Dr. Beatrice Wang from the McGill University Health Centre argued that many people make critical mistakes when buying or using sunscreen products, which may cost their health or even life later.
Ms. Wang noticed that many of her patients either do not understand the benefits of SPF protection or go for more natural brands that do not contain as many chemicals but are less effective.
And that may have something to do to the rise in melanoma cases across the country in the past two decades. About 20 years ago, only one in 70 people was diagnosed with skin cancer, while today about one in 50 develops the disease.
Melanoma risk may also be boosted by manufacturers’ dishonesty. Consumer Reports disclosed recently that in 34 products it had tested only two-thirds provided the SPF protection written on their labels. About one third had misleading labeling.
Dan O’Neill, who had fought skin cancer and defeated it thrice, said he was irked by people’s lack of ignorance on SPF protection, especially when kids are involved.
He explained that melanoma is not just another disease, it changes your life. At least it did change his. About a decade ago when he was diagnosed, he retired and reconsidered his life priorities.
“People don’t reapply their sunscreen and they’re not protected four hours later,”
added the man, who now must avoid direct sunlight by wearing wide-brimmed hats, tons of sunscreen, and long-sleeved clothing.
O’Neil, 59, underwent surgery last summer due to a relapse in melanoma. He recalls that he had been letting the sun burn his skin all the time when he was a kid and he continued to do so during his adulthood without any protection.
Dr. Wang explained that people’s “mania” to get as dark as they can during their vacations may someday cost their lives. She explained that they should use sunscreen and learn how to properly use it before lying hours on the beach.
She explained that an effective sunscreen should provide at least 30 SPF protection at the seaside and at least SPF 60 when practicing sports in the wild. The sunscreen should also have UVA protection, even though UVB rays are the ones that lead to skin cancer.
Additionally, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours if you go into water or sweat a lot.
Dr. Ward also said that people should not be stingy when applying sunscreen on their skin. She explained that they usually get a 30 SPF protection when applying a 60 SPF product since they apply it in such a thin layer. If you go to the beach, you need to cover all your body in a thick layer and make sure that you have used 30 milliliters (1.12 fl oz) of the bottle on a single application.
Image Source: Dress For Success (blog)
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