Keep Safe In The Summer Sun

Author: Shannon Miller

We all want that healthy looking tan, but how healthy is it?

Exposure to the sun causes wrinkles, age spots, skin discoloration and is the number one cause of skin cancer. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers breakdown, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching.

1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Be proactive and protect your skin with these helpful hints.

Watch For Signs:

  • Catch skin cancer early by playing an active role.
  • Get regular skin checks with your doctor and mention any of the following:
    • any change on the skin, especially in the size or color of a mole or other darkly pigmented growth or spot, or a new growth
    • scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule
    • the spread of pigmentation beyond its border such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark or a change in sensation, itchiness, tenderness, or pain.

Lower Your Risk:

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Look for shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest. Practice the shadow rule and teach it to children. If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
  • Cover up with protective clothing to guard as much skin as possible when you are out in the sun. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you cannot see through when held up to a light.
  • Use sunscreen and lip balm with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (about a palmful) and reapply after swimming, toweling dry, or perspiring.
  • Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears, and neck. If you choose a baseball cap, remember to protect your ears and neck with sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption to provide optimal protection for the eyes and the surrounding skin.
  • Protect your skin even on cloudy or overcast days. UV rays travel through clouds.
  • Avoid tanning beds.

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