Because it is skin cancer awareness month, we are discussing the dangers of unprotected sun exposure.

The number of cases of melanoma in young adults is on the rise. Millennials are especially vulnerable, because they seem to underestimate the dangers of the sun and skin cancer. According to a survey from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 42% of millennials do not know that clothing does not necessarily protect you from sun exposure. Also, 37% of millennials fail to realize that tanning causes skin cancer and 23% are unaware that getting a sunburn increases your skin cancer risk. There are, though, things that you can do to protect your skin.

HERE’S THE FACTS: The more you tan and sunburn, the greater your risk of skin cancer. Although some forms of skin cancer are highly treatable if detected early, melanoma is more serious and can be life-threatening if it is not identified or spreads.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Wear sunscreen with broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB with SPF of 30 or higher or wear a mineral sunscreen that contains at least 20% zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Wear protective clothing including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. The clothes should have a label listing the UV protection factor.

Take shade and avoid the hottest parts of the day (between 10am and 4pm) so staying indoors or in the shade during that time can help avoid excess sun exposure.

Stay away from tanning beds. Exposure to artificial sources of UV rays can cause skin cancer.

As always, if you see something on your skin that is new or changing, get it checked!