Minimizing Skin Cancer Risks


Baird Sun protection

Now that warm weather is here, many of us are spending more time outdoors exercising or taking care of yard work. Whether spending the day outside, or just taking care of a few chores, it’s important to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Depending on your skin tone, even just a few minutes can cause damage to your skin. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Always use Sunscreen. This may seem obvious, but over and over again, people get sunburned because they intend to spend just a few minutes outside, and a few hours later, return to the indoors with bright pink skin that will be burning in a few hours. Make it a habit, every time you go outside, to apply a broad-spectrum, high SPF sunscreen. And reapply according to the directions on the sunscreen – more often when exercising or in the water.

Don’t forget about a hat. Not only does a hat help keep the sun out of your eyes, but a wide brimmed hat also provides an extra layer of protection to the skin on your face and neck. If you find yourself without a hat – at an outdoor event, for example – an umbrella could also help shield your skin from the sun.

Lightweight, long sleeved fabrics, also provide great protection from the sun. Lightweight fabrics such as linen are not only comfortable, but will provide an extra sun barrier. While not practical for some activities, they are an ideal option for many activities and provide great sun protection.

Monitoring moles and skin tags for signs of change or discoloration is key to early detection. Make a yearly checkup to get your moles examined for any suspicious changes or color.

Avoid tanning beds. Like sunscreen, this may seem obvious, but many people turn to tanning beds this time of year for a “base tan.” Unfortunately, many think that a base tan will protect them from sunburns later in the year. That’s simply not the case, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection.

Finally, don’t forget about your eyes. The sun can do damage to your eyes as well. Wearing sunglasses helps protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays, and also the sensitive skin around your eyes. Choose sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays – and don’t think you have to spend a fortune, either. A recent report by NBC’s Jeff Rossen revealed that the cheaper, drug store sunglasses protect eyes just as well as the expensive designer sunglasses. The key? Look for a sticker that says “100 percent UV protection” or “UV 400” for the best bet for protecting your eyes.

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