Skin, Lip and Body Care

3 Unusual Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

+ CV Skinlabs Team

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer—by far—in the United States.

Estimates are that about 3.3 million Americans are affected by skin cancer each year, and the numbers are increasing. Though most of these cancers are curable, it’s still not a disease you want to develop. Treatments can be unpleasant or even painful, and in some cases, can leave behind scars.

We all know that protecting the skin from the sun is the best way that we can prevent skin cancer. Clothing, umbrellas, shade, and sunscreen are tools we can all use to help the skin remain healthy.

But there are some other things you can do to lower your odds of developing this disease—things you may not have thought about before.

1 & 2. Enjoy Your Coffee and Exercise Regularly!

We don’t usually think of these two things together, but studies show that they can team up to help prevent skin cancer.

Researchers split subjects into four groups:

  1. Group 1: Drank the equivalent of two cups of coffee a day.
  2. Group 2: Exercised every day.
  3. Group 3: Both exercised and consumed caffeine every day.
  4. Group 4: A control group that neither ran nor consumed caffeine.

The scientists then exposed the subjects to UVB radiation, which is known to cause skin cancer, and tested the skin. They knew that skin cells suffering from sun damage that died would be less likely to become cancerous than damaged cells that remained alive.

Results showed that all of the subjects suffered from DNA-damage in their skin cells, but those who consumed caffeine and exercised showed a greater level of cell death—meaning they were less to develop skin cancer.

Researchers noted that the differences between the groups were quite dramatic:

  • Those both drinking caffeine and exercising showing a nearly 400 percent increase in cell death compared to controls!
  • Those who exercised alone had a 120 percent increase in cell death.
  • Those only drinking caffeine showed a 95 percent increase in cell death

A related study showed that caffeine and exercise together when used over a period of 14 weeks reduced the formation of skin tumors compared to controls—again, at a much greater rate than when either was used alone.

The takeaway? Don’t give up your coffee yet! If coffee bothers you, you can find caffeine in dark chocolate, green tea and other types of tea, yerba mate, and guarana berries.

3. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

These foods contain antioxidants that may help prevent UV damage to the skin.

When the sun hits your skin, it creates damage by generating free radicals—unstable oxygen molecules that damage cell function and DNA. DNA damage can then cause changes in the genes that lead to skin cancer.

Antioxidants are natural substances in the body and in fruits and vegetables that counteract free radicals, neutralizing them so they can’t cause any damage.

A 2002 study found that when the skin is exposed to the sun, the UV rays depleted antioxidants in the body, weakening the skin’s defenses. It makes sense, therefore, that getting more of these helpful nutrients in our diet might help the skin to fight off its enemies.

In a 2019 study, for example, researchers found that people whose diets included high levels of vitamin A (which is an antioxidant) had a 17 percent lower risk for getting the second-most-common type of skin cancer, compared to those who ate lower amounts of vitamin A.

“Our study provides another reason to eat lots of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet,” said researcher Eunyoung Cho. “Skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, is hard to prevent, but this study suggests that eating a healthy diet rich in vitamin A may be a way to reduce your risk….”

The Dana Farber Institute also notes that maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk of skin cancer, which is another reason to eat right. Studies show that overweight and obese men have a 31 percent increased risk of malignant melanoma.

1, 2, 3 Cancer Free

We need more studies to learn more about how these methods may help protect the skin, but with what we know so far, these are easy habits to develop.

Exercise daily, get some caffeine into your diet, and eat more colorful fruits and vegetables. All these steps are good for your overall health, anyway, so if they prove to protect you from skin cancer, so much the better!

Do you have these three habits?


Sources
Kennedy, S. (2017, December 28). What Is the Link Between Diet and Melanoma? Retrieved from https://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2015/06/what-is-the-link-between-diet-and-melanoma/

Paddock, C. (2012, April 5). Caffeine, Exercise May Cut Skin Cancer Risk. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/243736.php

ScienceDaily. (2019, August 21). Caffeine And Exercise Can Team Up To Prevent Skin Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730142640.htm

ScienceDaily. (2019, August 21). Higher vitamin A intake linked to lower skin cancer risk. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190731125417.htm

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