Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Always Use Protection!

It's easy to say that you should use some sort of protection when you're out in the sun, but do you really know what you should be using? Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for the warmer, sunnier months ahead:
  • Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens. These products contain ingredients that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Reapply sunscreen frequently; at least every two hours.
  • Remember: sunscreens can contain a number of chemicals. If you are sensitive or allergic to chemicals, physical sunscreens/blocks or chemical-free sunscreens contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, which reflect UVA and UVB.
  • When in doubt, wear SPF 15 or higher. Look for products with the AAD Seal of Recognition.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face.
  • Don't forget to take care of your eyes. Wear dark sunglasses when outside to avoid getting lines around your eyes and to slow the development of cataracts.
  • Wear protective clothing. Companies like L.L.Bean now offer shorts, t-shirts, swimsuits, etc. that have fabrics that are treated to provide SPF protection.
  • Get Vitamin D from food, not from sun.
  • Peak sun hours are between 10 am and 4 pm--even when it's cloudy.
  • Do not go to tanning salons. Ever. I don't care what you're reason is...just stay away.
Remember: there is no such thing as safe UV rays and that healthy sunny tan isn't healthy at all. Over time, it will result in skin damage, accelerated signs of aging, and potentially melanoma or other serious skin issues.

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