The warm weather of summer brings more of us out of doors. And while skin exposure at all times of year can be dangerous, summer is a good time to look at sun exposure and its adverse effects on our skin.
Since its inception in 1979, The Skin Cancer Foundation has always recommended using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher - for all skin colors and types - as one important part of a complete sun protection regimen. People with pale skin that burns easily, should apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen alone is not enough, however.
Seek the shade, especially between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.
Do not burn.
Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours.
Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
The Skin Cancer Foundation has a great website that describes safeguards for your skin including simple images to determine if you may have developed skin cancer. Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless — but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That's why it's so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma (Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Evolving), and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately. Check out this website for more information. (www.skincancer.org/the-abcdes-of-melanoma.html)
Skin Cancer Facts:
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than one million skin cancers are diagnosed annually.
Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer; about one million of the cases diagnosed annually are basal cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. More than 250,000 cases are diagnosed each year, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two major forms of non-melanoma skin cancer. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either skin cancer at least once.
In 2004, the total direct cost associated with the treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers was more than $1 billion.
About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun.
Contrary to popular belief, 80 percent of a person's lifetime sun exposure is not acquired before age 18; only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.