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Woman sits in shade at the beach with a wide brimmed hat on.

How To Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer

Everyone has different skin concerns but whether you’re tackling the visible signs of aging, large pores or the look of blemishes, everyone should think about sun damage. Regardless of skin type, age or gender, anyone can fall victim to the harmful effects of the sun, including premature signs of aging, sun spots and most alarmingly, skin cancer. Find out the five ways you can protect yourself from skin cancer, and read success stories from cancer survivors.

Reducing Sun Damage

As the most common form of cancer, a shocking 5.4 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed each year. The American Cancer Society has noted that melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, will account for about 96,480 cases of skin cancer in 2019. We have five simple suggestions to reduce sun exposure which you can remember with the acronym: SCALE. Here’s how to SCALE back your sun exposure by:

  1. Skipping
  2. Covering
  3. Applying
  4. Limiting
  5. Examining

1. Skipping Tanning Beds

We know it looks “healthy,” but deeply tanned skin is far from healthy skin. A tan is your body’s response to sun damage - which means that if you have a tan, you've already sustained skin cell damage. A study by the Skin Cancer Foundation found that “people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.” The best protection for your skin is to avoid sunbaking at all times - especially in tanning beds where the UV radiation is stronger than that of the sun. 

People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.

2. Covering Up 

Effective protection from the sun means covering up with clothing, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Clothing is considered the first line of defense against UV rays with its own measure of sun protection. UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, is to clothing what SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is to sunscreen. Similar to an SPF, the higher the UPF rating the higher the protection from the sun, with a UPF rating of 15 to 20 being “good” and a rating of 40 or higher being “excellent.” To help protect the scalp, face, ears and neck, a hat with a brim of three inches or greater is your best defense. To protect the eyes, sunglasses with UV protection keep your peepers safe from damage such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

3. Applying Sun Protection

It’s important to remember that UV damage can occur all year long, so daily sunscreen application - even on cloudy days and during the winter months - is necessary for healthy skin. Eminence Organics President Boldijarre Koronczay recommends applying an Eminence Organics SPF moisturizer daily and, for extra coverage, finishing with a dusting of your favorite shade of our Sun Defense Minerals. Morag Currin, Founder, International Director and Educator for Oncology Training International (OTI) agrees, saying, “Wear an SPF every day. Eminence Organics has multiple formulations for a variety of skin concerns.” As skin cancer can occur anywhere on your body, it’s essential to protect all exposed areas of your skin with an all-over sunscreen like our Lilikoi Mineral Defense Sport Sunscreen

Wear an SPF every day. Eminence Organics has multiple formulations for a variety of skin concerns.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying the equivalent of two tablespoons of sunscreen to your entire body at least 30 minutes before going outside. As a general rule, sunscreens should also be re-applied at least once every two hours, especially if you’re swimming or sweating more frequently. 

4. Limiting Direct Sunlight

If it feels like your skin is burning, then it probably is. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 11 AM and 2 PM. If you are outside during this time, seek out shade and stay out of the sun as much as possible. Take breaks from direct sunlight by relaxing in the shade of a tree or under the protection of an umbrella. Morag adds: “The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is staying out of the sun – but when this is not possible, try to seek out shade and wear clothing that protects your skin.”

The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is staying out of the sun – but when this is not possible, try to seek out shade and wear clothing that protects your skin.

5. Examining Your Skin

Finally, protect yourself against skin cancer through early detection: If you can spot it, you can stop it. In addition to being the most common form of cancer, it’s also the most curable if diagnosed and treated in its early stages. Key indicators are irregular spots, sudden changes in the size or shape of any growths, as well as any sudden discomfort. If you notice something, see your physician right away for a professional opinion.

Surviving Cancer

Increased sensitivity, irritation and acne are common side effects of cancer treatments, and proper care is key to helping the skin heal and supporting patients’ self confidence. Morag notes that “for those dealing with cancer or its repercussions, look for OTI-recommended skin care products to help manage any discomfort.” Eminence Organics is proud to be recommended by OTI and we’ve been honored for several people to share their cancer survivor stories with us over the years.Belle Hack and her family sit in a garden

Belle’s Story

Belle Hack was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2015 at the age of 80. To treat the cancer, Belle had surgery to remove the skin cancer cells from the right side of her face. Although the outcome of her surgery was positive, the operation produced a large scar on her face which left Belle feeling self-conscious. We spoke with Belle to hear about her experience and advice for others. 

How and when did you discover you had skin cancer?

I had a small red spot on my cheek for a few years, and I noticed it got a little more red with time. So my family doctor looked into it and had a biopsy done and sure enough, there was a cancerous cell in it. On September 30, 2015, I was given the choice of surgery or radiation. I had heard so many bad things about radiation, I decided to go with surgery but was very worried about the outcome. They gave me a cream to help draw out the cancer and that they said will make the area look very pink. On November 9, 2015, I had the surgery done and was now cancer free.

Tell us about how Eminence Organics products helped you in the healing process.

Using the Facial Recovery Oil softened and lightened the skin on the scar and all around the area so that you almost can’t see the scar at all! I am amazed by how well and fast I noticed the oil working its magic. I was very self-conscious about people looking at my face. I didn't actually believe that this organic product would do much or anything at all - especially on this big scar! My granddaughter, who told me many times it would work, made me want to try it out. The Facial Recovery Oil healed it up beautifully and not many people even notice it at all! I officially believe in Eminence and the organic route because of the amazing effects they have had on my skin.

Do you have any advice about early detection of skin cancer?

I suggest that if you have a mark on your skin and you start to see it change - in any way, shape, or form - go get it checked! It really is "better safe than sorry." I shouldn't have waited like I had, and I won’t hesitate for anything that seems like "nothing" again. My experience and recovery would not have been as extensive as it was if I had it checked right away.

I suggest that if you have a mark on your skin and you start to see it change - in any way, shape, or form - go get it checked!

How do you protect your skin from sun damage since your skin cancer scare?

At 81, and with everything I know now about the sun, I try my best not to be in the sun at all anymore. I stay in the shade with my Bright Skin Moisturizer SPF 40, and I cover up and wear a hat if I know I will be in the sun at all.Chrystel Mann before and after cancer treatment

Chrystel’s Story

Chrystel Mann has been a massage therapist for over 25 years and an esthetician for over 15 years. Currently an esthetician at an Eminence Organics spa, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. Like many people, Chrystel’s treatment plan included chemotherapy. As an esthetician, she was aware of the havoc this can cause for the skin and planned to use only OTI recommended products. We were lucky to hear Chrystel share her valuable insight and positive outlook.

How did your cancer journey start? 

In the summer of 2014, my breast was very tender, the skin was peeling,and the nipple was going inward. I had a biopsy and found out that I had stage four breast cancer that had metastasized to the lymph nodes, collar bones, breast bone, lung and the hip. Chemotherapy started in November with six months of agony as well as vomiting and diarrhea that lasted eight months… During that time, I stayed very positive. I had to live for my children and my husband. All my inner strength went into healing and staying positive.

How did you take care of your skin? 

I reached out to Eminence Organics staff at the beginning of my treatment and asked what products would work for my skin during the chemotherapy and the winter months. It was suggested that I use the Beyond Organic Biodynamic® skin care line for its pure and gentle ingredients.

I ordered the Yellow Sweet Clover Anti-Redness Masque, Apricot Calendula Nourishing Cream and Echinacea Recovery Cream. My skin regimen consisted of cleansing my face with Stone Crop Gel Wash and light exfoliation with Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant, followed by one of the Beyond Organic products. I would switch back and forth between the three, depending on how my skin felt and the winter weather. If it were a very cold day, I would apply the mask and leave it on, like a cream. 

What were the results to your skin? 

Well, to my great surprise, my skin remained beautiful! Every one that saw me or met me commented that I didn't look sick, and my skin was radiant. I felt protected! As my profession calls, I always look at other people's skin. At the cancer center, everyone looked pale and ashy or completely inflamed with a bright red complexion. I was the only one smiling and looking normal, besides the fact that I was bald-headed. 

Every one that saw me or met me commented that I didn't look sick, and my skin was radiant. I felt protected!

How are you now? 

After six months of intense chemotherapy, treatment continued and is still continuing until October 22, 2015 which will be the last treatment. I’m so happy I have only two more to go. It's not chemo anymore, but it is still a toxic medicine and my skin is still beautiful. I feel very grateful for Eminence and the support it brought to my skin during this journey. As of now, this very invasive cancer shows no trace in my body anywhere! I am a miracle on two feet!

We are so inspired by these wonderful women, and we thank them for taking the time to share their stories.

As one of the most common forms of cancer, skin cancer must be taken seriously. Ensuring that you SCALE back on sun exposure is key to preventing sun damage and enjoying the outdoors. Do you have any other sun protection tips you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below and on social media.