Skin Cancer and Sunscreen Use

I know I am beating a dead horse here but please use sunscreen daily all year round. Especially those who are Gen Xers, like me, since we tended to bake ourselves on a daily basis, rarely using sunscreen.  Those teenage sunburns can lead to skin cancer as we enter into middle age. 

In 2015 I finally went to a dermatologist about a tiny white spot on the side of my nose. It had been there for years, not getting bigger, not itching, nothing really special, just a tiny white dot. My tiny white dot turned out to be basal cell carcinoma, skin cancer. Thankfully BCC rarely spreads and is easy to treat with surgery. Melanoma is the worst form of skin cancer. It goes deep and spreads quickly.

I went in for a skin check-up in June. I hadn’t gone to the dermatologist since before COVID-19. I ended up with 4 spots biopsied. The one on my back came back as pre-cancerous. It was removed and retested to make sure all of the cancer cells were removed. Thankfully I am once again clear. I did get another lecture from the doctor about using sunscreen on a daily basis.

I tend to think of using sunscreen only when out in the sun doing yard work, or at the pool, or beach. Like a lot of people, I am also bad at reapplying sunscreen. However, there are plenty of products out there that include sunscreen in them. That way you don’t have to apply a layer of sunscreen on top of your makeup, body lotion, or what have you. I already use makeup with sunscreen. The dermatologist suggested a few different over the counter body lotion brands to me that have sunscreen already in it.

I started using Eucerine Daily Hydration lotion with a broad spectrum SPF 15. It was the only one I could find at the time. I even had a coupon! Eucerine does make a body lotion with SPF 30 as well. There are other brands of body lotion, over the counter and prescription, that include sunscreen in various SPFs too. I use body lotion daily due to my dry skin. Without adding an extra step to my morning routine, I have applied sunscreen!

So please make an appointment with a dermatologist if you haven’t already. Just like an annual mammogram or physical check-up, it is important for your long term health.

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