May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month so we want to remind you to watch your clients for signs of skin cancer. Early detection can make a big difference and as a skincare professional, you can help your clients be aware of concerning skin abnormalities they might not notice.
Non-melanoma skin cancers like basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common cancers in America affecting around 3 million people per year. About 90% of these non-melanoma skin cancers are attributed to the sun.
If you need a refresher, you can read up on the basics of skin cancer as well as a breakdown of different types of SPF. You should encourage your clients to use a daily sunscreen. The role of sun damage in accelerated aging is a good side benefit for anyone who isn’t convinced.
Skin Cancer in Darker Skin Tones
There’s a myth that you don’t need to worry as much about sun protection if you have dark skin. While skin cancer is less common in people with darker skin tones, the outcomes are far worse. This might be because the cancer is detected later.
Skin cancer in people of color often presents differently than it does in lighter skin tones. For one thing, it is often in less exposed parts of the body like the soles of the feet or under the nails. Skin cancer lesions are also colored differently in people with darker skin, making them less obvious and harder to detect.
In spite of the lower risk of skin cancer, it’s just as important for people with darker skin tones to wear daily sunscreen. You should make your clients aware of the different ways skin cancer may show up and emphasize the importance of annual skin checks by a dermatologist.
UV Protection From Grapes?
New research has shown that eating about 2.25 cups of grapes per day can help protect the skin from harmful UV rays. This could be due to the high levels of polyphenols in grapes. Polyphenols are a micro-nutrient high in antioxidants.
While this is good news for grape-lovers, scientists warn that SPF and other sun protections like staying in the shade or wearing a hat should still be used as the main method of prevention. Also unfortunately there’s no evidence at this time that the same benefits of eating grapes applies to drinking wine 😉
The Bottom Line
Skin cancer continues to be a concern with 1 in 5 Americans developing some form of skin cancer by age 70. Daily sun protection is important for people of all skin tones and early detection is key in preventing negative outcomes. You can help your clients avoid skin cancer by teaching them what to watch for and analyzing their skin for suspicious changes.