Protecting your skin from the sun is important year-round, but with May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we want to take this opportunity to tell you why. We’ve brought in our friend and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Kim Nichols, to answer some important questions . 🙌

Board-certified Dermatologist, Dr. Kim Nichols, MD

What are the most common issues related to sun exposure?
My patient’s most common signs of sun exposure tend to be sunspots, skin discolorations, fine lines and wrinkles. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. In the U.S. alone, more than 4 million cases are diagnosed each year.

What is Melanoma and what can the effects of it be?
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and can even be fatal if not prevented or detected early enough. And to treat melanoma, most patients need to undergo surgical removal of the cancer, which can be disfiguring in many cases. Therefore, I tell my patients to have a full-body skin exam each year with me as their board-certified dermatologist, and to do self-skin checks at home every month as a form of prevention.

Wow. This is kind of scary. Why do we not talk about it more?
I think that we don’t talk about skin cancer enough because being tan and having tan skin is still so idealized in society. While we’ve made major progress with programs like making May Skin Cancer Awareness Month and having social media campaigns like #MelanomaMonday, even many of my savvy patients don’t use sun protective products 365 days a year. I encourage my patients to use self-tanner lotions and sprays so they don’t feel the urge to ever to use a tanning bed or go outside to tan.

Mott50 fabrics are all UPF50+. Let’s talk about what UPF50+ means.
UPF is how much UV radiation (both UVB and UVA) a fabric allows to reach your skin. I’m on the Medical Advisory Board with the Skin Cancer Foundation and they say a UPF 50 fabric blocks 98% of the sun’s rays. So, clothing is an effective form of sun protection, and it’s a bonus that Mott50 has safe and trendy styles.

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays and why is it important to protect yourself from both?
Both UVA and UVB contribute to visible skin damage and the risk of skin cancer. UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburns and play the greatest role in causing skin cancer; while UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper and are most associated with aging signs of sun damage like sun spots and wrinkles. However, there are 500 times more UVA rays than UVB rays in sunlight, so it’s important that sun protection cover against both UVA and UVB light.

Why is UPF50+ sun protective apparel important?
UPF50+ protective clothing helps protect your skin in hard-to-reach places and adds an extra level of skin protection. Anything that can protect your skin from harmful UV rays and lower your risk of skin cancer is important. I preach to my patients that daily sunscreen, and wearing UPF clothing, sunglasses, and a hat are all sun-safe habits.

Mott50 Gives Back
During the month of May, Mott50 will donate one piece of sun protective apparel for every piece sold. Donations will go to Impact Melanoma to aid in skin cancer education, prevention and support.