Skin cancer is the single most common form of cancer in the United States today, affecting one out of every five people in the country. In fact, this cancer has become so prevalent in the United States that there are more cases of skin cancer being diagnosed each year than breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined. It is an ongoing epidemic, and one that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. The steady increase in the incidents of skin cancer over the last few decades has created a separate industry solely devoted to the prevention and treatment of this all too common cancer. But is shunning the sun and covering one’s self with sun screen really the answer? The short answer is – “No”.
What Causes Skin Cancer
Skin cancer manifests itself when the DNA of skin cells becomes damaged due to oxidative stress, and begins to mutate. This cancer typically begins at the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), working its way to the squamous and basal cells that lay beneath the surface. Most cases of skin cancer are thought to be caused by over exposure to ultra-violet light, either from sunlight or tanning lamps, this is usually not the case. Skin cancer is actually caused by exposure to toxic materials such as pesticides, herbicides, and industrial cleaning chemicals. As with any disease, prevention is the key, and there is an all-natural path to reducing your risk for skin cancer.
Shunning the Sun
Many people mistakenly believe that protecting themselves from skin cancer means avoiding the sun all together. But the body needs natural sunlight to thrive, and time spent in the sunshine boosts the body’s production of vitamin D3, which is essential to good health. It is recommended that people spend approximately 20 minutes, three or four times a week, outside soaking up the sunshine. This should be sufficient for most people’s vitamin D3 needs.
Antioxidants play a big role in keeping the skin healthy, and in preventing the possible development of skin cancer. Antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals, and to minimize the damage that they can do to otherwise healthy tissue. As always, the best source of antioxidants is a healthy diet. The best source of protective antioxidants is fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables. It is important to stress that these fruits and vegetables should be organically grown, as pesticides and herbicides have been linked to a number of different types of cancer.
In addition to a healthy diet, there are a number of supplements that can be taken to help prevent skin cancer. Vitamin E and Zinc are essential for healthy skin, and many people are sadly deficient in these crucial nutrients. Both can be taken as dietary supplements to augment a healthy diet. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are also important to maintaining a healthy epidermis, and in fighting off a variety of different cancers. Again, Omega-3 can be taken as a supplement to support a healthy diet.
Sunscreen and topical moisturizers have become big business. While it is important to protect the skin from prolonged exposure to the sun and its ultra-violet rays, it is equally important to be careful about the type of sun block you use. Remember, like most cosmetics, sunscreens often contain chemicals and preservatives that are carcinogenic in themselves. If you have a particularly fair complexion, and feel that you need to use a topical sun block or moisturizer, be sure that it is wholly organic and that it does not contain any potentially hazardous chemicals. As always, read the labels carefully, and make an informed purchase.
As the incidents of skin cancer continue to rise, it is important for people to take preventative measures to protect themselves and their families. By adopting an all-natural approach to cancer prevention, it is possible to greatly reduce your risk for developing skin cancer.