Belfast Telegraph

Kerry Washington marks Melanoma Monday by encouraging sunscreen use

The actress wants to teach her daughter the importance of skin protection.

Actress Kerry Washington is marking America's National Melanoma Monday (02May16) by encouraging fans to take better care of their skin.

The Scandal star is a creative consultant for beauty brand Neutrogena, and as part of her role, she has become a leading voice in the company's Choose Skin Health campaign, which aims to make people think more about skin cancer.

Kerry admits she has learned a lot from the campaign herself, and she is determined to hammer home the fact skin cancer can be preventable - as long as people stop taking risks.

"When I started working with the company, I actually didn't know enough about skin cancer and the massive epidemic that it is in this country," she explained on U.S. breakfast show Good Morning America.

"Three hundred and fifty people are diagnosed (with skin cancer) every hour in this country... and it's one of the most preventable forms of cancer, so the fact that we can really educate people to use SPF, to use sunblock, to protect themselves, to avoid having to deal with this, I feel proud to be a part of this movement, this initiative."

The mother-of-one reveals she learned early on in life about the need to use sunscreen from her mum, and the African-American beauty wants to pass down the same lesson to her young daughter, two-year-old Isabelle.

"We have found in our studies that the more a child watches their mum use sunscreen, the more likely they are to protect themselves," she said, "and I thought, well that makes sense 'cause I watched my mum do that her whole life, which is rare, because I think in a lot of communities of colour, and in the Latino community, the black community, we tend to think that we're not vulnerable, which actually puts us at more risk.

"There are a lot of benefits to melanin; it's very, very pretty," Kerry smiled. "Brown girls rock, black girls rock, but we still are at risk of skin cancer, so it's really important to protect ourselves."

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