May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, which means it's more important now than ever to spread skin cancer education. Annual skin cancer screenings and daily application (and reapplication) of sun protection may not seem vital until the day that skin cancer affects you personally. Our employees have gotten vulnerable and shared their personal sun stories and tips with you below, showing that skin cancer can and does affect us all on a personal level.
Tip: Get Annual Skin Checks
"Five years ago my best friend saved my life. She taught me the meaning of strength and courage as she fought stage 3 Melanoma at 24 years old. She taught me that although life doesn't always make sense, everything happens for a reason.
Because my friend had taught me the signs and encouraged me to get annual skin checks, I was able to get treated early when I found my first melanoma. Now it's my turn to pay it forward - to teach my daughters to respect the sun and know the signs - to always reapply sunscreen."
Tip: Pay Attention to Changing Moles
"In early 2009, my sister Katie noticed a small mole on her leg change size and color, but she didn’t think much of it. After analyzing its transformation for a few months, she scheduled a skin check with her dermatologist. Skin health had been drilled into us growing up since we both have very fair skin but since her mole was so small, she was shocked to hear the results. In April, she was diagnosed with a 1b malignant melanoma. Her team of doctors were forced to remove 2 cm margins in each direction, leaving her with a gaping hole on her shin.
Fortunately, that was the worst of it and Katie has been officially cancer free for the past eight years. In May of 2013, she joined Team in Training, the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to raising money for blood cancer research. By running races (including one full marathon, 28 half marathons, five 10K, eight 5Ks, and two Ragnar races), she’s raised over $13,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Our Dad, is a three time cancer survivor himself, and we’ve always been very inspired by his story. By sharing my family’s history, and recommending Sunforgettable Brush-on Sunscreen to other family members, friends, doctors, and patients, I am creating awareness, which protects and saves lives. I am truly grateful to be working with the brilliant minds behind our products, and our dedicated team, who shares the same mission and values as I do. Thank you, Colorescience!"
Tip: Apply Sun Protection Before Driving
"This picture of my ear is just one example of the many surgeries I have had to remove basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers. In total I have had more than thirty surgeries - on my face, scalp, arms, back, chest, legs, you name it. It is so important to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Even when you don’t think you will be in the sun. Who thinks they need to have sunscreen on their ear when they are in the car driving? I have had a chunk of my left ear removed twice!
Please use sunscreen, every day, and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day, especially on your drive to and from work. Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-on Sunscreen is perfect, because it is not greasy or sticky, it will not mess up your make up, and it won’t run into your eyes."
Tip: Apply Sun Protection to Unexpected Areas
"The importance of wearing sun protection daily hits home for me. My dad had ear cancer, and had to have a skin graft to repair the damage. Luckily, it was caught and he's now cancer free, but so many people aren't so lucky. I love that the Sunforgettable Brush-on Sunscreen can be applied easily to your ears, back of your neck, the part of your hair, and the tops of your hands where you'd normally forget to apply sunscreen."
Tip: Wear Sun Protection Even in the Winter
"I grew up in New England and was raised by the “baby oil” generation. Sunscreen was not a part of my daily life nor something I even thought of as I got older and went to the beach without parents. In the winter time, we would all come home from skiing with “wind burns”, not sunburns. It wasn’t hot out so a sunburn just didn’t make sense – your face was raw and red because of the cold weather. This is now so silly to me.
It wasn’t until I moved to San Diego in 2008 and was fully engulfed in the Spa Industry that I came to learn how important daily use of sunscreen really was. This is also where and when I learned that there are healthy alternatives to your standard sunscreens, and ways to incorporate it into your normal, everyday routine. Now I am a strong advocate of using sunscreen daily and reapplying every two hours. I have spent a lot of time and effort educating my own family on the dangers of not protecting themselves on daily basis – the sun might be nice and warm but those rays definitely have a hidden agenda!"
Tip: Don't Use Tanning Beds
"I am 46 and when I went to high school in the 80’s, tanning beds were the hottest thing. All my friends were going. I secretly wished I could go tanning and look as good as they all did, but I wasn't allowed to go, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I became an Esthetician in my twenties and started to use quality sun protection. Being an Esthetician kept me pretty tied up, working in a dark room doing facials and other treatments; even on the weekends. I have only had about three basic peels in my life and have not done anything else except little areas of Botox about three times. I can’t tell you how many times in my life, after mentioning my age to people, that they say, "No way!" then they go ask their friend or ask someone around us to guess how old I am. They are usually about eight to ten years off from my age at the time.
When I look at the photos of my high school friends now, at the same age as I am today, they all look very different in the way they have aged. My brother, who is only a year older than me, lives for days at the beach, diving, and being on the water. You wouldn’t think we are only one year apart in age. Now I'm glad I didn’t have the money to spend on going to the tanning bed in high school. It has really paid off."
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