Spending time in the sun is the best thing about the summer, but unfortunately the worst thing for your unprotected skin. Not only can it lead to skin cancer, it can result in premature wrinkling, discoloration, and changes in texture. Here are some ways to avoid the harmful effects of the sun without having to hide from the bright warmth of summer:
1) Slather on sunscreen every day. No matter how long you spend outdoors, sunlight streaming indoors can expose you to damaging UVA rays. A liberal application of SPF 15 or greater can prevent it.
2) Use a sunscreen that you'll put on -- work it into your daily habits. Sprays are often the easiest to apply, but difficult to apply to the face without stinging the eyes. Many facial moisturizers include sun protection. Look for the "seal of recognition" from the American Academy of Dermatology or Skin Cancer Foundation.
3) Duck & cover up. The mid-day sun is strongest, avoid it. Long sleeves and long pants or dresses are excellent sun protection.
4) Apply sunscreen in all sun exposed areas. Although folks worry most about the face, all exposed areas are potential areas where cancer can start unless they're well covered with sunscreen. Even in supposedly well covered areas such as under the shade of hats or under rashguards, sunscreen is needed. Sun can reflect upwards exposing shaded areas, and wet rashguards lose much of their sun protectant abilities.
5) Apply sunscreen a half hour before going out, every 2 hours and after any water exposure. Sunscreen wears off after 30 minutes in the water, and is rubbed off after toweling dry.
6) Leave tanning beds to the leather industry. If you just HAVE to look darker, use sunless self-tanning products so your skin doesn't end up as tough as your shoes.
7) Don your birthday suit on your birthday. At least once a year, check all over your body for anything changing, growing or bleeding -- skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
Also, if you have any questions, feel free to visit MedHelp's new Skin Cancer community located at: http://www.medhelp.org/forums/show/290