If you think you’ve heard it all when it comes to skin cancer, try again. Here are 6 surprising facts you didn’t know about skin cancer.
1. You can get skin cancer in the dark
Surprisingly, sun damage continues for several hours after exposure to the sun. According to a recent study, less than one second of UV radiation exposure may be all it takes for cancer-causing mutations to damage your skin. The chain reaction caused from even brief UV exposure continues to affect your skin long after you’ve gone inside. As Yale scientist and researcher Douglas Brash points out, “You’re getting the same kinds of DNA damage in your skin for hours after the sunlight exposure has ended.”
Researchers think there may be a way to develop an after-exposure sunscreen. Until then, Brash and his colleagues suggest antioxidants like Vitamin E—found in wheat germ, sunflower seeds and spinach—that prevent skin damage from occurring.
2. Fluorescent light bulbs can damage your skin
The new compact fluorescent bulbs that are saving you money on your power bill can actually emit harmful UV rays inside your house. There is an alternative, but it comes with a trade off. Terry McGowan, director of engineering and technology for the American Lighting Association says LED lights don’t emit UV rays, but the blue light at night can mess up your sleep cycle.
3. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and will account for about 3.5 million cases of cancer in the United States this year alone. On average, one person dies from melanoma every hour. However serious, skin cancer is preventable and almost 100 percent treatable when caught early.
Prevention comes through the old standbys: cover up, avoid the sun in the middle of the day, use sunscreen, don’t use a tanning bed and remember the eyes and lips. Watch for changes in your skin, as early detection is key.
4. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in teens and young adults
While its true that people older than 50 are at a greater risk of developing melanoma, the American Academy of Dermatology reports a sobering find: “Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.” While melanoma in children is extremely rare, the rate of melanoma is increasing by about 2 percent per year among Caucasian children from newborn to age 19 in the United States.
5. Skin cancer is most deadly for people with darker skin
While the numbers stack up against Caucasians — one in three will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime — skin cancer among Latinos, Asians and African Americans is the most deadly because it usually isn’t diagnosed until the late stages. Bob Marley died at 36 from an aggressive metastasized melanoma that was thought to be a toenail injury.
6. Essential Vitamin D is available from sources besides the sun
Yes, your body needs Vitamin D. Yes, you can get it from the sun — in about 20 minutes a day, unless you live in higher altitudes. However, there are other ways — including fortified foods and supplements — of supplying this super nutrient that fights against depression and protects you from colds.
This summer, take advantage of the sunshine, but be sure to take the necessary precautions to protect you and your kids from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.
You and your kids can have fun in the sun this summer and still be protected from sunburn and skin damage. Check out DelSol’s line of fun, color-changing summertime clothing and accessories to keep your kids safe and having fun in the sun this summer.
When you see the Del Sol products change color in the sun, and the color intensifies, it’s a good indicator that the UV index is high, and you should probably apply or reapply sunscreen.