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Treat Sunscreen Like Toothpaste? Yup!

by kelly / May, 16 2018 01:30

Photo of two clean and white toothbrushes

Yes, that’s right, treat sunscreen like toothpaste - make it daily habit. That is great advice I heard from a doctor. Why? Because unfortunately skin cancer is on the rise, one of the best preventions of skin cancer is sunscreen, and studies show treating sunblock like toothpaste makes you much more likely to use it daily.

Plus, skin cancer is no longer the disease of your grandparents; it’s affecting more and more young people. In fact it’s the second most common cancer among women 15-29 according to the American Academy of Dermatology. That’s why it’s a daily must.

Skin Cancer Affects Everyone

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month and there is no better time for us to talk honestly about skin cancer.

Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate by age, race or gender. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation: “one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70; more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.” These are stats are pretty sobering.

Skin Cancer Exposure Every Time You Step Outside

Every time you go outside (or worse use a tanning bed), your skin is exposed to UV rays that cause skin cancer. In addition to skin cancer, UV rays are also the major culprits in skin aging – wrinkles, fine lines, age spots – you know all that good stuff ☹. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that UV rays cause more than 90% of the visible skin changes associated with aging.

Plus don’t think exposure is just a sunny summer thing as UV rays from the sun are present year-round and even on cloudy days. According to the US Food & Drug Administration: “Even on an overcast day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can get through the clouds.”

Use Sunscreen Like Toothpaste

Yikes, those are not fun things to read about. But fortunately as the Skin Cancer Foundation says skin cancer is a “lifestyle disease” and “highly preventable”.

How do we do this? We can avoid skin cancer by following a few key daily sun protection tips – of course the biggest one being wearing sunblock everyday.

This all brings me back to the toothpaste recommendation. If wearing sunscreen everyday is hard to remember then put it next to your toothpaste because we all brush our teeth every morning. According to Dr. Steven Q. Wang, the director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, he found that people whose sunscreen was in a box with their toothpaste used 20% more sunscreen. Wow!

Dr. Wang said, "it [placing sunscreen next to their toothpaste] set off a chain reaction that actually changed people's habits."

So the next time you finish brushing your teeth, reach for your bottle of sunscreen.

More Skin Cancer Tips & Info

Want more skin cancer facts and prevention tips then check out our Skin Cancer blog series.

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