Sunscreen, shade can help reduce summer skin cancer risk

Sunscreen, shade can help reduce summer skin cancer risk

PERMIAN BASIN, TX (KWES) - Schools in the Permian Basin are out and the first day of summer is approaching quickly, which means fun in the sun is on the rise. But while spending time in the sun can help provide the body with essential Vitamin D, there are dangers that come with not taking the proper precautions when going outside.

Exposure to UV lights might be good for your tan, but it also means that your risk of developing skin cancers, particularly melanoma, greatly increases.

While everyone is at risk of getting skin cancer, people who are particularly susceptible include those with:

  • Sun-sensitive or fair skin
  • Blond or red hair
  • 50 or more moles
  • Blue or green eyes

Additionally, those with a weakened immune system, a family history of melanoma or who have experienced another form of cancer have an increased risk of contracting melanoma.

As scary as it sounds, there are simple ways to reduce your risk for skin cancer not only during the summer but also year-round.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you stay in the shade as much as possible and wear protective clothing. Reapplying sunscreen every two hours is encouraged, particularly if you are swimming or sweating.

Sunscreen should be broad-spectrum and water resistant. The AAD also advises an SPF of 30 or higher, even on cloudy days.

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Use of tanning beds should be avoided as much as possible. Use of indoor tanning beds before the age of 35 increases your risk of melanoma by around 59 percent and the risk increases with continued use.

Checking for skin cancer is a simple process that should be done regularly. If you have a mole that has suddenly popped up or one that has suddenly changed shape, you should check for these warning signs:

  • Does the mole appear asymmetrical?
  • Has the border of the mole become irregular or poorly-defined?
  • Does the mole contain multiple colors?
  • Is the mole larger than 6mm?

If the mole appears to be irregular or has changed noticeably, the AAD recommends that you consult as soon as possible with your dermatologist.

Proper use of sunscreen and following the AAD's guidelines for sun safety can help prevent skin cancer and sunburns, keeping your skin healthy and happy.

If you do get a sunburn while out in the summer heat, the AAD suggests taking a cool bath to reduce the heat and moisturizing the area to ease dryness. Drinking extra water will also help skin heal and keep you hydrated.

Despite how scary it may seem, it is still perfectly fine to enjoy the summer sun, just remember to slather on the sunscreen and drink lots of water while you enjoy yourself outside during these hot summer months.

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