Summer time is here and it is time to enjoy the great outdoors. When you do, protect yourself and your family from skin damage. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, responsible for tans, can also cause sunburns, wrinkles, premature skin aging, and skin cancer. Take steps to avoid damage to your skin:
Use a broad spectrum sunscreen: Make sure your sunscreen blocks both UVB and UVA agents. This is not evident from the SPF number. Look for one of the following ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, or methyl anthranilate.
Apply lots of sunscreen: Dr. Carl Schanbacher of Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston recommends 1 teaspoon for the head and neck, 1 teaspoon for each arm, 1-3 teaspoons for the trunk, and at least 1 teaspoon for each leg.
Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before you leave the house: This allows the sunscreen to absorb well and become fixed to the skin. Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
Wear a hat and sunglasses: Wear a wide brim hat to protect your neck and ears. Be sure your sunglasses have 100% UVA/UVB protection. Long-sleeved clothing made of woven fabric is effective. You can also purchase sun-protective clothing.
Avoid the sun during peak UV hours: UV radiation is most intense between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM.
If you discover an unusual mole - asymmetrical instead of round, irregular borders and edges, moles that have turned a different color, or moles larger than the size of a pencil eraser - or a scaly patch or a sore that doesn't heal, see your doctor or a dermatologist.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.