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The Hood Magazine

Ways to Save Your Skin: May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Jun 01, 2022 ● By Amy Feterl
By: Amy Feterl 

Living in South Dakota, I think everyone counts down the days until we can spend time outdoors, soaking in that Vitamin D. Being outside also means exposing yourself to the sun’s harmful UV rays.  

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and I have a special connection to this month because I am a melanoma survivor. At the age of 23, I was diagnosed with my first melanoma, and we found out my mom and sister both had melanoma at the same time. Since 2013, I have been diagnosed with melanoma two more times.  

There can be a hereditary factor to skin cancer; however, anyone can develop skin cancer regardless of age, gender, race, or familial history. Skin cancer is America’s most common cancer, and fortunately, it is one of the most preventable! Here are some helpful tips for helping you reduce your family’s risk of skin cancer. 

Find shade when the sun is at its strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. 

Avoid sunburns. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, five sunburns more than double your risk of developing melanoma. 

Avoid tanning and tanning beds; consider a UV-free tanning option.  

Cover your skin with clothing, broad-brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses.  

Use a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen, apply it 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply every two hours after swimming or excessive sweating.  

Keep newborns out of the sun. If six months or older, be sure to apply sunscreen to children. The Skin Cancer Foundation found that even one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence doubles the chances of developing melanoma later in life.  

Examine your skin monthly. Look for new, changing, or unusual spots (not just moles).  

See a dermatologist yearly to have your skin checked. If someone in your immediate family is diagnosed with skin cancer, make an appointment right away.