Attention! How to prevent skin cancer
Everyone has skin. Technically, its the bodys largest organ - and its essential to our survival as it prevents harmful substances and micro-organisms from entering the body, as well as shielding us from the suns damaging ultraviolet rays.
Skin cancer is now the second most common form of cancer in the UK, and non-melanoma skin cancer affects 57,000 new people a year here (1 million in the US). How thin our protective barrier becomes is up to us. So take action now to look and feel great in years to come.
1: Avoid prolonged use of steroid creams, as they thin and discolour the skin. The epidermis is about as thick as a sheet of paper (thinner on our eyelids), and has four layers of cells that are constantly flaking off and being renewed.
2: Cancel your trip to the sunbed salon. The British Medical Associations head of science has said, "People use sunbeds because they think theyll look better, and yet they will probably end up looking old prematurely - and possibly getting skin cancer." Children and teenagers are at most risk, with the chances of developing a tumour increasing by up to 20 per cent per decade of sunbed use before the age of 56.
3: This goes for home tanning machines too. A study has shown that people who use tanning devices have 2.5 times the risk of squamous cell cancer and 1.5 times the risk of basal cell cancer. France has banned under-18s from using sun beds. Keep babies out of direct sunlight and stay in the shade yourself between 11am and 3pm. If children under 15 get badly sunburnt they are at major risk of developing skin cancer in later years.
4: Tan slowly. It takes about 4 days to stimulate your pigmentation - and it is the pigmentation that protects you. Do not go in the midday sun for at least the first week, especially if you have just left your winter behind and flown to the tropics or skiing holiday.
5: Wear a hat, wear sunglasses. And if you are using sunscreen, do not think your sunscreen will protect you all day. Apply regularly, every 4 hours.
6: "But hang on" we hear you cry, "if were covering up and using sunblock on children, none of us will get the vitamin D we need from sun exposure to avoid rickets and osteoporosis, and fight cancers." Yes, you are right. Research shows clearly that people who go in the sun regularly get less cancers - so follow the CANCERactive campaign: PRACTISE SAFE SUN. Enjoy essential Sunshine!
7: Skin cancers and especially melanoma are often driven by oestrogen. A women on the contraceptive pill has double the risk of her identical twin who is not on the pill. Skin cancer is not just about the sun but about pre-sensitising the skin.
So go toxin-free and avoid sun creams and moisturisers with oestrogen mimics in them - like parabens, BPA, phthalates, toluene, and PABA (para-aminobenzoic-acid). Avoid those containing AHA5 (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) which exfoliate the skins protective barrier along with damaged skin cells. Retinyl Palmitate has its critics and other baddies include propylene glycol, mineral oil, and skin suffocants bentonite, kaolin and lanolin, which can cause skin rashes. (Follow this link
and find out about other toxic toiletries.
OK, so youve read it and ignored it countless times over the years... But that doesnt make it any less true. Drinking two-to-three litres of glass-bottled or RO (reverse osmosis filtered) water a day is the easiest way to guarantee a great skin, as well as all the other benefits. (Click here
to see the range of RO available through Natural Selection)
10: If you get bored lying around, try some outdoor exercise. Brisk walks, yoga and swimming will oxygenate your blood, capillaries and thus your skin too.
11:Ask your partner or friends to keep check on any moles on parts of your body you cant see easily, such as back and scalp, and tell your doctor about any change in shape or colour, or if itching bleeding or inflammation occurs.
12: Take vitamins C, E and beta-carotene; but not the synthetic High street ones. Instead try Total Natural E, Chlorella (for beta-carotene) and natural C with bioflavenoids. Modern-day living, pollution and the suns radiation combine to produce destructive free radicals. Antioxidants help protect the skin and the rest of the body from damage. Cod liver oil/fish oils, omega 3s and selenium are good too.
13:Warmer weather is the perfect excuse you need to try juicing for the first time. Invest in a good juicer and make your own non-alcoholic breakfast cocktails - all great for your skin and a must on any beat-cancer diet.
14: We all know smoking and too much alcohol are no-nos for so many reasons - maybe least of all because they age and discolour the skin. So use your holiday to cut down on both, and also fats, which all produce free radicals. Try eating more fish, fresh fruit and salads which help neutralise them. It´s time to go on the Rainbow Diet - read the book while you are relaxing. It could start a whole new healthier you!The vitamins and minerals in salads also increase our stores of tryptophan, the precursor of melatonin, a strong antioxidant and cancer fighter.
15: Phew! Doing the right thing under the sun can be tiring work, so take time out for plenty of relaxation. Sleep in a darkened room increases the production of hormone melatonin in the brain, which regenerates your system, neutralises free radicals and makes us nicer people to live with! Oh, and it prevents cancer.
To read the CANCERactive SafeSun Campaign - Click here.
To read about the Rainbow Diet - Click Here
To Read all about vitamin D and its importance - Click here