NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — By now you probably know that too much sun can lead to skin cancer, and that sunscreen can help protect you.
But there are some sun care facts that could save your life.
As CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, everyone knows you need to apply sunscreen early and often when you go out in the sun, but did you know alcohol, aspirin, and yogurt can all affect your risk for skin cancer?
It’s definitely the outdoor time of year — hot, sunny and a little risky. The UV rays of the sun increase our chance for skin cancers, but if we don’t like to slather on the sunscreen, we can just put on a T-shirt, right?
“I do find people who go ahead and wear T-shirts, but they still get burned so I don’t think that’s appropriate as protection,” said sun worshiper Shqipe Komonha.
Surprising fact No. 1 is: you may be getting more sun thank you think. Most clothing is almost transparent to UV rays, Dr. Gomez reported.
Another surprising fact is that drinking alcohol may increase your risk for skin cancer. It’s possible that alcohol increases free radicals in the skin, leading to inflammation and maybe cancer, Dr. Gomez reported.
“Drinking alcohol may make you do things that you may not normally do. You may be getting sunburns, you may be going to tanning salons. You might not be applying sunscreen the way that you should,” said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, with Mt. Sinai Hospital.
More bad news is that skin cancer may be an indicator that you’re at risk for other cancers.
“It’s probably because of some people having oncogenes or genetic predispositions. So skin cancer may develop first, but it doesn’t cause or lead to other cancers,” said Dr. Bruce Katz, with Juva Skin & Laser Center.
So what’s some good news?
Probiotics, the good bacteria that are found in some yogurt as well as food supplements, is good for your skin, Dr. Gomez reported.
“It’s good for your digestion. I haven’t heard too much about it being good for your skin,” said Stephanie Pentoliros.
As Dr. Gomez reported, probiotics may actually help heal sun-damaged skin, probably by reducing inflammation.
There’s also a wonder drug stashed in your medicine cabinet. Aspirin may also lower your risk for skin cancer by reducing inflammation, Dr. Gomez reported.
“And by reducing inflammation, you can help reduce some of the pathways that can lead to the development of some skin cancers,” Dr. Zeichner said.
Aspirin seems to reduce the risk for many cancers, but do not start taking Aspirin just for that reason, Dr. Gomez reported. It’s a serious drug that can lead to internal bleeding.
Your best defense against skin cancer is still plenty of sunscreen. SPF 30 applied before you go outside and re-applied often.
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