Skin Cancer Information

Most of us love the outdoors, but our skin hates the high desert sun. The longer wavelengths (known as UVA: think “A” for aging) penetrate and damage deeper structures like elastic fibers and collagen, as well as pigment cells (melanocytes), where melanoma starts. Such damage causes premature aging with wrinkles, fine lines, rough leathery texture, and mottled discoloration, as well as skin cancers.

Sunlight suppresses your skin’s immune system. Skin cancer results from a one-two punch: The first “hit” is nuclear damage from UV radiation; adding up over decades. The second “hit” is ongoing, daily UV suppression of your skin’s immune system.  Exposure to UV radiation adds up causing increasing, cumulative skin damage.

Facts about UV rays

  • UVB rays are five to ten times stronger in the middle of the day
  • UVA penetrates window glass, clouds, mist, and even fog
  • Shiny surfaces, like snow, water, and concrete, will reflect up to 95% of solar rays back at you
  • 50% shade cover gives only about SPF2 protection and 90% shade cover gives only about SPF 10
  • 50% of all UVA exposure occurs in the shade.

Tips for preventing skin cancer

  • Minimize exposure of your skin to sunlight
  • Try to enjoy your outdoor activities in the mornings or evenings
  • Look for an SPF of at least 30 for maximal protection from skin cancer and premature aging
  • Apply sunscreen every morning to your sun-exposed skin
  • Make a habit of using lip sunblock, every day, all year.
  • Wear long sleeves and a hat with a broad brim
  • Wear sun protective clothing