When I lived in England, I may have been a bit prone to complaining about the weather. I mean, I’m from Colorado, where the sun does shine. While I appreciated the lush, green beauty of the English countryside, I didn’t always appreciate the rain. In answer to one of my complaints I remember the following retort: “Yes, but it is good for our skin. When you are old with wrinkles, we’ll be old with lovely skin.”
Climate and Skin Cancer
May in Colorado this year was cold and rainy. One day in mid-May, as I bundled up to go outside, I remembered this remark and began to think about the link between climate and skin cancer. Intuitively, it makes sense to me that people living in less sunny, colder, more northern climates will have better skin over the long-term. Right? Wrong. Here’s why.
According to a 2006 World Health Organization report (Forbes.com 07.28.2008), the top five hot spots for skin cancer are:
1. North America and Cuba
2. North Eastern Europe (including Russia)
4. Australasia, Asia-Pacific and East Asia
5. South Eastern Europe and Central Asia
We’re number one! We’re number one. We’re number one? Yes, and that is not a good thing.
Actually New Zealand and Australia are number one, but because they are grouped with Japan, they are number five on the WHO list. We North Americans have a lot in common with our southern hemisphere brethren, however, including the cultural desire to get a tan. The Japanese tend to associate being tan with being poor, therefore they wear their sunscreen.
In addition, many Aussies and Kiwis, much like many of us Yankees, have ancestors who migrated from cloudy, rainy Northern Europe. According to the WHO report, “fair-skinned populations that migrated to areas with high ambient levels of solar ultraviolet radiation” get more skin cancer. Our skin simply isn’t equipped to withstand excessive UV bombardment unprotected.
One Burn a Year Can Kill You
So what about all the Europeans on the skin cancer list? If they are at home in their natural protective climate, why are they getting skin cancer? Well it turns out that Europeans like to be tan too and when they leave their northern countries for a holiday on the Mediterranean or the South Seas, they leave their common sense behind and bask unprotected in the sun. They tend to figure that one sunburn a year won’t kill them. Wrong.
According to the WHO, medical studies have found that while the incidence of melanoma increases as one lives closer to the equator, mortality from melanoma is related to “intermittent, intense sun exposure (especially for those who are fair).” Death from melanoma is between 4 to 6 times greater in Nordic countries than in Mediterranean countries.
Old, with lovely skin? Yes, but only if you cover up and protect your skin with sunscreen when you’re outside in the bright light of the day. You don’t have to live in a rainy climate to have great skin. You just have to put your Skin First.
This month’s giveaway will help you keep your great skin! Courtesy of Eucerin, I am giving away full-size bottles of Eucerin Everyday Protection SPF 30 Face Lotion and SPF 15 Body Lotion. I especially love the SPF 30 Face Lotion. Dermatologists say that the moment we step outside we are bombarded with UV rays. Wearing a daily SPF moisturizer of at least SPF 30 makes summer living even more carefree. Make it part of your routine.
Eucerin would like to hear how you plan to protect your skin this summer. Leave a comment here and then copy it onto their Facebook page. For an additional entry, take the Skin First Pledge if you haven’t already. If you already have, just mention this in your comment.
One winner will be chosen by random drawing on June 15th. Good luck!
I am very happy to be working with Eucerin as part of their Skin First Blogger Network. As part of this effort, Eucerin is providing me with skin care information, as well as skin care and wellness products. They are also providing this giveaway to my readers. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and reflect exactly what I would tell my friends and family.
Congratulations to Jan, the winner of this month’s giveaway drawing.
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