Take Charge of Your Health - Skin Protection
Sun protection doesn't need to be complicated or expensive -
it needs to be consistent...
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. The deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, has doubled in the last 30 years with one in 54 Americans now developing melanoma over their lifetime. The primary culprit? The sun. Approximately 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 86% of melanomas are associated with ultraviolet radiation from the sun. That’s why protection from the sun is important every day, in all seasons, in all weather. These are some easy tips to follow:
✓ Wear sunscreen - A recent study found that only 14% of men and 30% of women in the U.S. regularly put on sunscreen when, in fact, it should be used anytime you plan to be outside for more than an hour. Your sunscreen should have a sun protection factor of at least 30 and should say “broad spectrum” to protect against both UVA and UVB radiation. (Check the expiration date; sunscreen can be on our shelves for years and years. Generally sunscreen shelf life is 2 years, but may be lower if exposed to high temperatures.) For sunscreen to be most effective apply the sunscreen before you get dressed so it has a chance to sink into your skin before you go outdoors. It is best to reapply every couple of hours and every hour if you are swimming.
✓Dress for protection - Hats and sunglasses are critical. And remember golf/baseball caps may cover the top of your head, but typically do not cover your face, ears or neck. Invest in a hat with a 2-3" brim all the way around. Sunglasses with UV protection are best to protect your eyes, just as it helps to wear clothing with fabric labeled with UV protection factor. Otherwise wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible like long sleeve shirts and long pants, preferably in darker colors.
✓Be mindful of your time in the sun - The best time to be outside is early morning and late afternoon. Avoid the 11 am to 3 pm hours if at all possible. And, do not use tanning beds, tanning salons, or sunlamps! If you want a tan, try a sunless tanning lotion.
✓Consider your medications - Many medications make you much more susceptible to the sun and sunburns; anti-inflammatory meds, antibiotics, blood pressure medicines, antifungals and chemotherapy are but a few examples.
✓ See a dermatologist every 6-12 months for a thorough skin exam.
Remember sun exposure adds up day after day. If you are worried about all the sunburns you have experienced since childhood, perhaps you wish to consider a new mantra and “stay in the shade” or at least cover up...
For further information and resources visit the Health-E3 website.