Sun safety: Protecting skin this season; Tips from the American Cancer Society

It’s summer and we’re in skin protection season. The vast majority of skin cancers are preventable by routinely shielding your skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays and Americans aren’t doing enough to protect themselves.

The American Cancer Society suggests we bring our sun-protection habits up to date. Dermatologists recommend doing a skin check monthly, so you’ll be more likely to notice small changes or even find a skin cancer when it’s still small. The best time to examine the skin is after a shower or bath and with good lighting. Look for changes in size, texture, shape and color of birthmarks, moles and blemishes.

“Slip! Slop! Slap! And Wrap!”  is a catch phrase for kids used by the American Cancer Society that works well for adults, too. It reminds people to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat and wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and sensitive skin around them from ultraviolet light.

Sunscreens need to be applied 20 to 30 minutes before going outside and the portions should be generous. All sunscreen products used should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. For best results, reapply every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating heavily.

For more information about ways to protect and check your skin this summer, go to the American Cancer Society website at www.cancer.org.  For more information, call Veterans Memorial Hospital at 563-568-3411.

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