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The best life hack? Wear sunscreen.

July 16, 2018

sunburnIf you’ve ever had a sunburn, you know it can cause anything from mild discomfort to extreme pain. Recently, a quick sunburn remedy went viral when a woman shared her DIY shaving cream trick to relieve pain and redness. While sunburn remedies can be temporarily helpful, it’s important to remember that no sunburn soothing methods can reverse the most dangerous result of sunburns: skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in the U.S. and also the most preventable. About 87,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, each year, and more than three million people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer each year.

While a sunburn can be soothed, it’s a sign that your skin has been damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. By the time skin has burned, the risk of skin cancer has increased. On average, having more than five sunburns doubles your risk for developing melanoma. Knowing there is a quick remedy for sunburn redness and pain should not be used as a justification to skip protective and preventive measures. While menthol shaving cream may be a simple trick to relieve your skin, there are also easy ways to prevent sunburns and reduce your risk of skin cancer. Instead of stocking up on extra shaving cream, make sure you always have plenty of SPF 30 or higher sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection, and reapply your sunscreen every two hours if you stay in the sun, even on cloudy days. Another simple method to avoid sunburns and reduce your risk of skin cancer is to wear protective clothing, such as hats and sunglasses.

If you do end up getting burned: don’t panic. Getting a sunburn does increase your risk of skin cancer, but it does not automatically mean you will get it. Keep an eye on your skin and use the ABCDE rule when looking at moles. If you notice any changes to your skin, talk to your health care professional. You should also have your health care professional examine your skin annually, even if you have never had a sunburn.

By taking proactive steps to prevent sunburns, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer and save your shaving cream for shaving.

2 Comments

Thank you so much for refuting the shaving cream advice.

Last weekend I’d gotten a nasty sunburn on my back and shoulders while I was outdoors. Reaching the middle of my back has always been a problem for me and I knew as I was applying the sunscreen that this wasn’t going to be my best performance.

The crazy pattern on my shoulders though was a total shock. The look of the burn is really strange, as the swaths that I cut with the sunscreen left points and sharp curves that make me think of a tribal tattoo. Now while some people may think it wilderness and awesome a red pattern with weird horns on your back, maybe they see a phoenix, but it creeps me out, I think of animal skulls or that decapitated dancing lady on the Dave Matthews band stickers and I am thoroughly intimidated. Even my wife was concerned, she came into the bathroom when I was tending to the burn and her eyes got real big – another reminder that she’s never been in a mosh pit.

I realize that I’m in the minority here, but I don’t get sun burns for fun and was honestly interested in applying shaving cream to the burn. Fortunately, I didn’t have have any shaving cream, since I’d moved to an electric razor, or I may have tried it and gotten hooked, becoming a statistic of those young adults addicted to recreational sun burning, another disappointing presentiment to the future of America .

Reply

Shaving cream with menthol does seem to offer some relief from the pain, but it won’t protect you from skin cancer. Next time, try to find a friend to help you apply the sunscreen to your back (and don’t forget to reapply every 2 hours!) or wear protective clothing.

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