Make Sure You Cover Up This Summer: Don’t Leave Your Skin Exposed to Harmful UV Rays.
Skin cancer, like other cancers, is caused by a genetic defect that allows skin cells to grow and multiply in an uncontrolled manner. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause these genetic defects.
When you are sunburned, you have damaged your skin’s cells. More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, and it is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Skin cancer has several forms, and is characterized by a growth that has rapidly changed in size, height or color. Skin cancer can be detected by using the ABCD method:
A = a growth with an Asymmetrical shape;
B = a growth with an irregular Border;
C = a growth with a dark or irregular Color;
D = a growth with a Diameter larger than a pencil eraser.
The risk factors for skin cancer include exposure to the sun, fair skin, and blonde hair and blue eyes. The skin’s color or pigment is caused by melanin, a protein in the skin that filters or protects the skin from UV. The fairer your skin, or the less pigment it has, means there is less UV protection
While it seems like skin cancer might be a disease that only people with light complexions will get, people with dark skin are also susceptible. They might see signs of cancer on the palms of their hands or soles of their feet.
While getting outside and being active promotes a healthy lifestyle, be smart about it. Protect yourself and your loved ones from the sun. Cover up with light-colored clothing and use sunscreen.
Tips To Protect Your Skin
- Wear sunscreen. It should have a minimal sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 and say “broad-spectrum” on the label, which means it protects against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Put it on at least 15 minutes before going outside.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours or more often if you’re sweating or swimming.
- Wear sunglasses with total UV protection.
- Wear wide-brimmed hats, and loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Avoid being out in the sun as much as possible from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Check your skin regularly so you know what’s normal for you and to notice any changes or new growths.
- Choose cosmetics that offer UV protection. You still need to use sunscreen and wear sunglasses with broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Don’t use tanning beds