Protect Yourself From the Sun

August 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm Leave a comment

The sun is an important part of our lives. Sunny days have a positive impact on our mood, increase our level of physical activity, make social events and gatherings more enjoyable, and even benefit our health by providing our bodies with essential vitamin D. Unfortunately, sun exposure also presents risk factors that can lead to skin cancer, which is the most common of all cancer types. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Prevention and early detection are the best ways to keep your skin healthy. It’s important to learn what you can do to protect yourself and how to spot any possible signs of skin cancer.
Here are some tips to protect your skin from sun damage:
• Wear sunscreen with a SPF 15 or higher. If you have fair skin or light hair, you are more susceptible to the sun’s rays and should use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.
• Choose sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum” meaning that it protects against two types of harmful rays: UVA and UVB.
• Use waterproof sunscreen to make sure it stays on longer, even if you perspire or get wet.
• Reapply sunscreen often, usually every two hours, but sooner if you’ve been swimming or perspiring heavily.
• Cover your whole body, including ears, eyelids, lips, nose, hands, feet, and the top of your head.
• Seek shade or avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10am – 4pm. The sun is strongest during those hours, even on cloudy days.
• Wear a hat with a wide brim to help shade your eyes, ears and head.
• Wear wrap-around sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection to safeguard your eyes.
• Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing such as long-sleeve shirts or long pants that protects a larger area of your skin.
Here are some tips for examining your skin:
• Perform skin self-examinations in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror. Use a handheld mirror for hard-to-see places.
• Learn the pattern of your moles, freckles or other birthmarks so that you will notice any changes.
• Look for new growths, spots, bumps or sores that do not heal normally.
• Don’t forget hard-to-see areas of your body such as your head, the underside of your arms, the backs of your legs, and between your toes.
• Know the “ABCDs” of moles; asymmetrical (oddly shaped mole), border (irregular or vaguely defined borders of mole), color (uneven color or multiple colors of moles), diameter (mole larger than a pencil eraser or growing in size). If you have any moles that fit the above criteria, ask your doctor to check them out.

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Entry filed under: RLC Info & Resource Line.

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