Al­ways prac­tice sum­mer sun safety

Maryland Independent - - Community -

When the weather is warm, many peo­ple take time to re­lax at the beach or pool­side — but it’s im­por­tant to pro­tect your skin in the sun.

Ac­cord­ing to the Skin Can­cer Foun­da­tion, basal cell car­ci­noma — or BCC — is the most com­mon form of skin can­cer. The Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety notes that each year there are more new cases of skin can­cer in the U.S. than the com­bined in­ci­dences of can­cers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. De­spite that preva­lence, many peo­ple still en­gage in risky be­hav­iors. Be­ing safe in the sun won’t take any­thing away from en­joy­able out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, but us­ing cau­tion will help you re­duce your risk for skin can­cer and other con­di­tions.

• Know the risks of UV ex­po­sure. Sun­light is needed to en­gage vi­ta­min D pro­duc­tion in the body, but too much sun ex­po­sure can do more harm than good. Ul­travi­o­let (UV) rays from the sun and sources like tan­ning beds are the pri­mary cause of skin can­cer. Ex­po­sure also can lead to sun­burns, pre­ma­ture ag­ing/wrin­kling and eye dam­age.

• Use only broad-spec­trum SPF sun­screen. Look for a sun­block prod­uct with an SPF of at least 30. The FDA re­quires any sun­screen with an SPF be­low 15 to carry a warn­ing that it only pro­tects against sun­burn, not skin can­cer or skin ag­ing. Find a sun­screen that works against UVA and UVB rays as well. UVA rays are mostly re­spon­si­ble for con­tribut­ing to skin can­cer and pre­ma­ture ag­ing. Reap­ply fre­quently, es­pe­cially when swim­ming or en­gag­ing in ac­tiv­i­ties that cause sweat­ing.

• Know the dif­fer­ence be­tween wa­ter-re­sis­tant and wa­ter­proof sun­screens. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are no longer al­lowed to claim that their sun­screens are wa­ter­proof or sweat­proof. A sun­screen may be able to re­pel wa­ter for a short time, but it should be reap­plied when leav­ing the wa­ter or when spend­ing long stretches in the wa­ter.

• Cover up when­ever pos­si­ble. It may seem coun­ter­in­tu­itive in hot weather, but cov­er­ing up can be ben­e­fi­cial to the skin and ac­tu­ally keep a per­son cooler. Wear wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeve tops and light-col­ored pants. Some ma­te­ri­als are made with re­flec­tive prop­er­ties, while oth­ers ac­tu­ally boast their own SPF.

Sum­mer fun does not need to be threat­ened by over­ex­po­sure to the sun. By ex­er­cis­ing cau­tion, ev­ery­one can spend qual­ity time in the great out­doors all sum­mer long. Metro Cre­ative Con­nec­tion

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