Skin cancer can be deadly if you let it manifest, and Washington has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the country, followed closely by Oregon. In our overcast Pacific NW climate, we often forget to take basic precautions, but even in overcast weather the sun still shines! The leading cause of skin cancer is overexposure to the sun. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways we can prevent against skin cancer. Start up these healthy habits in the Summer and keep them going all year long to beat the statistics - you can do it!
1. Sunscreen. Sunscreen is integral to preventing skin cancer. When you are going outside in the sun for extended periods of time you should make sure to apply a good sunscreen. Avoid spray types of sunscreen and use lotion types, also, make sure to use a sunscreen at least 40 SPF or above.
2. Dermatology check-ups. Schedule annual dermatology check-ups just to ensure you do not have skin cancer or another problem with your skin.
3. Avoid sunbathing. I know, I know, this may be one of the sole reasons you go to the beach. But, it has been proven that sunbathing is bad for you...even if you have applied sunscreen! Ultraviolet rays are harmful to the skin and it is important to protect against them however possible.
4. Say bye-bye to the tanning salon. Radiation is terrible for our skin, and radiation is found aplenty at tanning salons, it has even been shown that some tanning beds produce radiation stronger than the sun! So think about that the next time you decide to go into a tanning bed...just don’t do it!
5. Wear protective clothing. It is one thing to apply sunscreen, but you should also combo that with protective clothing. Wear hats, sunglasses and garments with a ultraviolet protection factor rating.
6. Use essential oils. Use lemon, sappan wood and mate leaf essential oils in order to encourage healing and repair of damaged skin in order to prevent potential patterns of skin cancer.
7. Detoxify your liver and kidneys. Your liver and kidneys are major players in converting vitamin D from the sunlight and the food you eat. One way to guarantee you are consuming enough vitamin D is to drink milk thistle tea or taking a milk thistle tea supplement. OR get Acupuncture! Acupuncture provides excellent support for detoxification, cleansing and decreasing inflammation.
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.