Memorial Day is upon us! It’s the unofficial kick off to summer – but do you know how best to protect your skin from the suns damaging rays (while still having fun)?
The National Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer by the time they reach age 70. Today, skin cancer causes more deaths each year than all other forms of cancer combined.
So how do we enjoy the beautiful outdoors without spending our later years regretting it? According to the American Academy of Dermatology “SPOT Skin Cancer” campaign, remember these tips to protect your skin from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays and reduce your risk of skin cancer:
- Seek shade. Remember, the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. TIP: If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
- Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Use sunscreen whenever you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days; apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin. For most adults this is about an ounce, or enough to fill a shot glass.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
- Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, increasing your chance of sunburn.
- Don’t use tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer and premature skin aging.
- Using self-tanning product will make you tan – but you still need to use sunscreen with it.
- Perform regular skin self-exams. It’s best to detect skin cancers early, when they are most treatable. If you notice new or suspicious spots on your skin, or anything that changes, itches or bleeds, see a board-certified dermatologist.
That last point is very important. It’s why in May the Center for Cancer Care at White Plains Hospital hosted its second annual Skin Cancer Screening event. We evaluated nearly 80 people – almost twice the number of the previous year! Our board-certified dermatologists and PA’s performed upper body exams, checking for signs of cancerous or precancerous growths on the head, neck and arms.
So go out there and enjoy time with your family and friends. Just remember to care for your skin!
Additional information available at: https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/programs/screenings