Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Soak Up the Sun...With Protection

A favorite pastime for many of us during the summer is laying on the beach or splashing in the pool, especially in the heat of July. But while you are having fun soaking up the sun, remember to protect yourself from those harmful UV rays - the ones that can cause skin cancer, wrinkles, brown spots and spider veins.

More than 2 million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, making it the most common form of cancer in the U.S., according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. About 90 percent of all skin cancers are associated with sun exposure; therefore, you must protect your skin this summer! Remember these helpful tips:

  • Use sunscreen. Apply a minimum of 30 SPF sunscreen or moisturizer that protects against UVB/ UVA rays (look for the term "broad spectrum") and is water resistant.
  • Use the right amount. Apply one ounce of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Reapply every two hours. Even if the label reads "water resistant:" or "waterproof," you still need to reapply every couple of hours to ensure sweat or water did not wash your protection away.
  • Seek shade. Avoid the hottest time of the day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Cover up. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, clothing and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Do not burn.

Enjoy your summer while staying protected! Remember a temporary tan is not worth the consequences of cancer. For more information about skin cancer, visit the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention or the Skin Cancer Foundation.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

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