Tips to protect your skin from the sun this summer

As summer approaches, nothing appears healthier than a nice tan, right? Wrong. Though tan skin is associated with beauty and good health, just the opposite holds true.
“Tanning is actually a sign of skin injury and, combined with the sun, is responsible for virtually all aging on the skin,” explains Erica Krause-Wagner, NP, nurse practitioner at the Gundersen Lansing Clinic. “Freckles, skin spots and ultimately skin cancer are almost guaranteed down the road without proper sun protection.”
Every year more than three million Americans develop skin cancer, making it the most prevalent of all cancers, but because damage is not immediately visible, many people do not routinely use sunscreen.
In order to protect yourself and your family from the sun this summer, Wagner offers the following sun safety tips:
• Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater.
• Apply the sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours for maximum protection.
• Use sunscreen even on cloudy days, as UV rays can penetrate clouds.
• Avoid the sun’s strongest rays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Wear protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats, long pants and shirts.
• Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV protection.
When caught early, skin cancer is very treatable. Develop a regular routine for checking your skin. Look for changes in the number, size, shape, color or texture of pigmented lesions, and any new crusted or persistent scaly areas which may bleed easily. Consult your primary care provider if you notice any changes.
For more information talk with your primary care provider.