Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Caution! fun in the sun could cause skin cancer

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 12:24 PM

It's summertime and I know we're all out there enjoying activities in the beautiful Texas sunshine. What better time to remind y'all to be careful and protect yourself against skin cancer. Your skin is your body's largest organ and it's what holds all the rest of you together. Skin cancer from sun exposure is one of the most preventable cancers.

The American Association of Dermatology (AAD) is a national nonprofit dedicated to "Promoting leadership in dermatology and excellence in patient care through education, research and advocacy." Here are some tips from their website.

Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.

Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.

Use extra caution near water and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Check your birthday suit on your birthday. Especially when you get older. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

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Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. Use a “broad-spectrum” lotion which will protect your skin from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Look at the labels for that offer:

Broad-spectrum coverage (label may say “broad spectrum,” “protects against UVA/UVB” or “UVA/UVB protection”)

SPF 30 or higher.

Water resistance. Sunscreen will eventually come off. So, re-apply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

But, wait! There's an alternate view to slathering on the sunscreen. I got this link from an 'all natural' friend of mine. According to this report from Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit who "uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment," sunscreen can possibly cause damage to your skin. There's a section on their website which exposes the nine "myths" of sunscreens: "Sunscreens prevent sunburns, but beyond that simple fact surprisingly little is known about the safety and efficacy of these ubiquitous creams and sprays." In conclusion, their message is "At EWG we use sunscreens, but we look for shade, wear protective clothing and avoid the noontime sun before we smear on the cream. Read the whole article if you want more information about alternatives to sunscreen.

However you do it, take precautions to protect your skin when your out in the sun. Skin cancer can be fatal. Don't take getting a 'killer tan' literally.

For more from Laura Carter follow @LauraCarter or visit A Small Blog.

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