Oranges are rich in vitamin C, but they can pose a problem for people who are out in the sun a lot without adequate protection from harmful UV rays. If you eat oranges on a daily basis, it's important that you protect yourself from the most dangerous form of skin cancer—cutaneous malignant melanoma, which is what 65% of all skin cancer deaths are from.
Citrus contains psoralens, which is a photoactive compound used to treat psoriasis. Even though you may not have psoriasis, you should still take the same precautions as psoriasis patients, because you consume psoralens. Here's what you need to know.
Citrus Fruits Contain Psoralens
Psoralens is a compound found in citrus fruits and other foods, such as celery and carrots. Researchers have found that psoralens makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight. The reason for this finding is due to a study which showed that people who ate citrus 1.6 or more times every day had a 36% increased risk of melanoma as compared to those who only ate citrus less than twice each week.
Psoralens Is Used for Psoriasis Treatment
Psoralens has been found to be photoactive, which is the reason it makes the skin more sensitive to light. In fact, psoralens, in combination with UVA light, is often used to treat psoriasis patients as a way to control their lesions. However, due to using psoralens in the form of medication or a topical application, combined with the use of UVA light, doctors highly recommend that psoriasis patients avoid unprotected exposure to natural sunlight. However, the same holds true for people who eat a lot of psoralens-containing food—they must protect themselves from harmful UV rays.
Protection from Sunlight Is Necessary
A lot of people only apply sunblock when they're at the beach, a swimming pool, or enjoying an afternoon in the park. However, while this may be adequate for most people, people who are at a higher risk of melanoma—including people who eat a lot of citrus—should also consider wearing wide-brimmed hats and photoprotective clothing when they are out in the harsh midday sun.
Get Skin Cancer Screening
If you eat citrus fruit on a daily basis, get skin cancer screening. This can be done through your local dermatologist, who will look closely at your skin to see if there are signs of cancer. If found, he or she will likely do a biopsy, which means they'll remove a layer of skin from the area of concern so it can be viewed under a microscope.