Beauty professionals have a unique opportunity to view their clients’ skin and nails up-close and note changes that may be early signs of skin cancer. You also have your client’s ear when it comes to health and beauty advice — and the number-one tip for maintaining young-looking skin and reducing the risk of skin cancer is to avoid the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.
Share these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology on limiting sun exposure.
- Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, when possible.
- Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. (Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.)
- Apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin; most adults need about one ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their body. And don’t forget to apply to the tops of the feet, neck, and ears.
- Use sunscreen whenever you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days.
- When outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer and premature skin aging.
- Perform regular skin self-exams to detect skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable, and see a dermatologist if you notice new or suspicious spots on your skin, or anything changing, itching, or bleeding.
Urge clients to consult a dermatologist immediately if you notice any moles or pigmented spots that exhibit these signs:
A = Asymmetry. One half is unlike the other half.
B = Border. An irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
C = Color. Color is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown, or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.
D = Diameter. Melanomas are usually greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
E = Evolving. A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.