This story is part of Survivor’s Guide, a series on navigating the impact of melanoma through beauty and self-care.
You’ve heard the lecture many, many times in your life about sun protection from your parents, social media, dermatologists, and even us Allure staffers — and with good reason. Protecting yourself from UVA and UVB rays can, indeed, help prevent painful sunburns, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and more. However, there’s one key purpose of sun protection that doesn’t get discussed nearly enough: prevention of skin cancer, specifically, melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.
As dermatologists will tell you, limiting your sun exposure and taking other protective measures such as wearing sunscreen daily can lessen the risk of melanoma, regardless of age or background. “Skin cancer is such a unique [type of] cancer because we know exactly what causes it — the sun’s ultraviolet rays — and we can limit sun exposure,” Elizabeth Hale, a dermatologist in New York City and a senior vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, previously told Allure.
People who have survived melanoma will urge you to do just that. Below, we speak to five melanoma survivors about their current sun protection routines, which involve a lot more than just wearing sunscreen when outside. If you need recommendations for UV-protective clothing, tips for avoiding peak sun exposure, or bronzed makeup that’ll keep you away from the tanning bed, these melanoma fighters have you covered.
Leah Adams, diagnosed at 26