10 Best and Worst Cities for Your Skin

As temperatures start to rise and patients head outside more frequently, it's a good time for pharmacists to go over skin health, especially since May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

As temperatures start to rise and patients head outside more frequently, it’s a good time for pharmacists to go over skin health, especially since May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

Skin cancer isn’t a rare condition. In fact, it will affect 1 in 5 Americans over the course of a lifetime, and it affects more patients than breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers combined.

Stress, pollution, tobacco use, and poor nutrition can all have detrimental effects on patients’ skin, but the main culprit is sun exposure.

There are several ways pharmacists can help their patients avoid skin issues, such as educating them on what kind of sunscreen to look for and how to use it. A broad-spectrum and water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is optimal, and patients should remember to apply it at least every 2 hours.

Pharmacists can also remind parents that babies younger than 6 months shouldn’t wear sunscreen because of the risk of absorbing chemicals, so parents should make sure their infants stay out of direct sun.

Indoor tanning is of particular concern, as more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the country are attributed to indoor tanning, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Notably, the link between tanning and skin cancer is even stronger than smoking and lung cancer. Patients who use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75%.

If pharmacists live in the following 10 cities, they might want to consider doing more to highlight their sunscreen products. According to WalletHub, the worst cities for skin-related issues among 150 of the largest US cities are:

141. Oxnard, California

142. Amarillo, Texas

143. Chattanooga, Tennessee

144. Toledo, Ohio

145. Spokane, Washington

146. Cape Coral, Florida

147. St. Petersburg, Florida

148. Shreveport, Louisiana

149. Akron, Ohio

150. Port St. Lucie, Florida

WalletHub compiled these rankings based on 17 metrics, including factors like melanoma incidence rate per 100,000 residents and cost of a noninvasive dermatological procedure. The analysis covered 4 main areas: skin cancer prevalence and contributors, pollution and smoking, climate, and skin health and care.

In contrast, these were considered the best cities for skin:

1. El Paso, Texas

2. San Antonio, Texas

3. Austin, Texas

4. Minneapolis, Minnesota

5. Santa Rosa, California

6. Plano, Texas

7. Memphis, Tennessee

8. Dallas, Texas

9. Newark, New Jersey

10. New York, New York

Three of the top 5 cities for the fewest incidences of melanoma per capita were in Texas (El Paso, San Antonio, and Austin). Memphis, Tennessee, and Washington, DC, also have some of the fewest cases of melanoma.

The cities with the largest number of melanoma cases per capita were Boise, Idaho; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

The areas with the highest levels of air pollution were all located in California, but the Golden State also dominated lists of cities with the lowest smoking rate and the fewest days with extreme temperatures.

Four cities in Arizona topped the list of cities with the most days with extreme temperatures.

WalletHub’s data came from the US Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CDC, US Environmental Protection Agency, Yelp, American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, County Health Rankings, NOAA Climate Prediction Center, National Centers for Environmental Information, and CAREOperative.