Using Sunscreen to Reduce Women’s Risk for Skin Cancer

The number of people with skin cancer in Canada is increasing annually. In fact, there are around 7,200 cases of malignant melanoma that are diagnosed every year. About 90% of these cases are caused by UV radiation by natural sunlight, or by the use of tanning beds. 11% of Canadian women use tanning beds regularly, putting themselves at higher risk. This is why it is so important to protect the skin from the sun’s rays, not only in the summer months, but also in winter. Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis can help protect your skin and also provide essential moisture, reducing the risk of you developing skin cancer.

Can I use a natural sunscreen?

Natural sunscreens that contain plant-based ingredients are an important advancement in skin care. We are becoming more conscientious about the products that we use on our bodies – this means not exposing our skin to harmful pesticides, fertilisers and chemicals. Natural sunscreens can be just as effective as commercially bought ones. However, it is recommended that you apply a little sunscreen everyday, in particular to your face and hands. Even in the cold and snow, the sun’s reflection can be strong, this is why it is a regime you should get into every day. If you make it a part of your morning routine, then you are less likely to forget.

What are the ingredients?

One of the most effective ingredients in natural sunscreen is carrot seed oil. This has a natural SPF of between factor 35-40. Red raspberry seed oil is also a common ingredient, with an SPF of between 25-50. Zinc oxide is often included, particularly in the stick forms of sunscreen, where it helps the cream to stick to your skin. It has an SPF of between 2-20, although this is dependent on how much is used in the formula. Other ingredients you can expect to see are also very good at moisturising your skin. These include almond oil, coconut oil and shea butter which all have an SPF of around 5.

Can I make my own?

Absolutely. You don’t have to buy commercial sunscreens. However one thing that is worth bearing in mind is that premade natural sunscreens are generally fairly accurate when stating the strength of protection from the sun that they provide. If you are making your own sunscreen, on of the biggest advantages is that it won’t contain the chemical Oxybenzone, which is added to around 65% of commercial sunscreens. This has been shown to disrupt hormones, which is a concern particularly in children. With the right ingredients, you can make your own natural sunscreen that is provides just as effective SPF as some of the big name brands.

The sun is harmful to our skin. Using a sunscreen can help keep you protected, and you will be less likely to develop melanoma. With 1 in 74 women developing some form of skin cancer in Canada, it is so important to take care, even in winter.

Thanks to Jane Sandwood

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