From Denise Piper, Parish Nurse
Use That Sunscreen!
The perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and… you are wearing sunscreen!!
Most of us are aware of the benefits of sunscreen use. These include decreased wrinkling of the skin, discoloration, and development of skin cancers. Yet only one-third of the population uses sunscreen regularly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The need for sunscreen use applies to both men and women.
Skin cancers include:
- Squamous cell and basal cell, which are often called non-melanoma, because they respond well to treatment and rarely spread.
- Melanoma, which is more aggressive. It can develop anywhere on your body, but develops most on areas that have been exposed to the sun. It can also occur in areas that don’t receive much sun exposure, such as the soles of your feet, palms of your hands, and fingernail beds. The risk of melanoma seems to be increasing in people under 40, especially women.
- Factors that may increase your risk of skin cancers include:
- Fair skin. Less pigment in your skin means less protection from UV radiation.
- History of sunburn. One or more severe, blistering burns increases risk.
- Excessive ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. This comes from the sun, tanning lights, and beds.
- Having many moles or unusual moles.
- A family history of skin cancers or melanomas.
Reduce your risk of skin cancers by following these tips:
- Avoid the midday sun. Sun rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Wear protective clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat.
- Don’t forget the sunglasses. Look for those that block UVA and UVB rays.
- Avoid tanning lamps and beds.
- Wear sunscreen year-round, even on cloudy days. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Don’t let this information frighten you, only inform you.
So… use that sunscreen and enjoy these summer days!