Call us 24/7

Warmer temps come with a warning: Protect your skin

May 26, 2015 | by CTCA

Skin
With nearly 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year, skin cancer remains the most common cancer in the United States, and government officials estimate that one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that it’s a largely preventable disease. Here are some tips to help protect your skin this summer, or any time of the year.

Temps are warming. The snow is finally melting. Picnics and outdoor activities are beginning to dot the calendar. Yes, summer is on the horizon, and that’s a welcome relief for many, especially after a brutal winter socked much of the nation. But behind the joys of sun-kissed celebrations are hazards that threaten to spoil the fun. Since May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the time is ripe for a few reminders on how to reduce your risk of sun damage.

You can start by wearing sunscreen, even when you’re running errands or driving around town. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for extended outdoor activities. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the vast majority of Americans do not follow this prevention advice. The study, published in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that just 14.3 percent of men and 29.9 percent of women surveyed reported using sunscreen regularly on their face and other exposed skin when in the sun for more than an hour.

With nearly 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year, skin cancer remains the most common cancer in the United States, and government officials estimate that one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that it’s a largely preventable disease. Here are some tips to help protect your skin this summer, or any time of the year:

Avoid the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and don’t be fooled by cloudy days. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that up to 80 percent of the sun’s damaging UV rays can penetrate the clouds.

Follow the shadow rule, and teach it to your kids: If your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s rays are at their strongest, and it’s time to seek shade.

Wear protective clothing, the kind made of tightly woven fabric that you can’t see through when you put it up to the light.

Get sunglasses with UV protection, the ones that absorb up to 99 percent or 100 percent of UV rays.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. Apply generous amounts to your face and body—and lip balm for your lip. And reapply throughout the day, especially after sports or water activities.

Go high-tech. Need a reminder on when you’ve had too much sun? Today, there are a number of wearable gadgets—from  UV-measuring wristbands to smartphone apps that draw data from sun patches on your skin—that alert you when it’s time to reapply the sunscreen or get out of the sun.

Avoid tanning beds.

Examine your skin from head to toe once a month, and go to the doctor if you notice any irregularities.

See your dermatologist once a year for professional full-body skin exams.

Whatever you do, the key is to avoid ultraviolet radiation as much as possible. UV light is the main factor linked to basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and possibly melanoma.