Prevent skin cancer with sunscreen and shade

Written by Community Health Network on 5/6/2014 7:00:00 AM

According to Dr. Priya Young,  “The greatest prevention we can take against skin cancer is to make sure sunscreen with an SPF of 30 is applied throughout young life and then continued into adulthood."

Young states that sprays are okay, but need to be applied thoroughly and correctly.

"Most people want to spray it on and then jump right into the water, or spray it haphazardly and miss areas of the skin," said Young. "Sunscreen isn’t effective if it just washes off, or if you have blotchy coverage. Also use a daily moisturizer with SPF 30 on your face, hands, neck and arms before you apply your make-up.”

Here are a few reminders about sun and skin protection:

  • A blistering sunburn before age 20 doubles your lifetime risk of melanoma. 
  • Three or more blistering sunburns before age 20 multiplies your lifetime risk of developing skin cancer by five. 
  • Temperature does not affect the intensity of UV radiation; exposure in other season than summer can be just as damaging to your skin. 
  • Light clouds and haze do not protect against UV exposure. A heavy overcast prevents most UVB exposure but only about 50 percent of UVA exposure. 
  • Be aware of reflections of UV radiation from sand, water, concrete, and snow. A beach umbrella may provide protection but not from reflections of UV radiation from sand. 
  • Swimming in water (or even inches under the water) does not prevent UV damage to reaching your skin, water only magnifies the UV image. 
  • Window glass will block most UVB radiation, but only 30 percent of UVA radiation. A car’s front windshield blocks most UVB and UVA radiation but side and rear window glass does not block UVA radiation at the same level. 
“As a final reminder, take a look at the expiration date of your sunscreen, typically found on the bottom of the tub or can. If today’s date is past the expiration date, toss it,” said Dr. Young. “Sunscreen like all medications, change over time to a point there the ingredients are not effective. Also, do not leave your sunscreen in car, the heat will seriously impact the effectiveness of the sunscreen. Store it in a dark, cool place. It’s best to replace your sunscreen on a yearly basis with a new tube of SPF 30.”

Schedule a FREE screening
Community is offering free skin cancer screenings during the month of May. Sign up online now. 

Tags: skin protection , SPF , sunscreen , UV rays , UVA , UVB | Posted in: Skin Cancer

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