When caught early, skin cancer has a high cure rate. The key is to have regular screenings. Board-certified dermatologist Beth Adams, MD, will examine up to two areas of concern in a FREE Skin Cancer Screening on Friday, July 22, 2 to 4 pm. Pre-registration is required. Call 847.618.4YOU (4968).
As children, summertime meant endless outdoor fun. For many of us as teens, it meant sunbathing with baby oil to ensure the darkest tan this side of Aruba. Fast-forward to adulthood, where a thinning ozone layer and a higher incidence of skin cancer have made us wary of enjoying sunlight. But while skin cancer is a serious concern, you don't have to become a summer shut-in. Use these eight tips to help you safely enjoy your season in the sun.
For years, health experts and meteorologists alike have warned, "Stay indoors during the heat of the day." The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends "avoiding the peak hours of the sun. Its rays are the strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, so try to schedule outdoor activities before and after those times."
Liberally apply sunscreen about 20 to 30 minutes before going outside. Because the sun emits two types of harmful ultraviolet rays—UVA and UVB—your sunscreen should provide "broad-spectrum" protection against both, with a recommended sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
According to the American Cancer Society, reapplying sunscreen may be the most neglected step in the sun-safety regimen. Don't just put it on and forget it. Experts say sunscreen should be reapplied about every two hours while you're outdoors, and every 45 minutes if you're swimming.
Head out with a hat that protects your face, neck and ears. Choose one with a wide brim at least three to four inches around for suitable coverage. The bucket and wide-brimmed farmer's hats, in a lightweight straw or cotton twill, are two classic, stylish choices.
Seek shade, but do so with caution, says a spokesman for The Skin Cancer Foundation. While trees and umbrellas provide protection, you still need to protect your skin while under them. The sun's rays can scatter, penetrate and reflect to reach you—so don't forget the sunscreen.
Covering up in dark, tight-knit fabric is the best way to protect your skin, but it's no fun in the summer heat. Fortunately, some companies now make lightweight clothing with effective sun protection. These items are made with fabric that has an ultraviolet protection factor, or UPF, of 15 to 50 on their labels.
Forget paparazzi cameras; you've got a better reason to shield your eyes. The eye area is incredibly vulnerable, says the American Cancer Society. Prolonged sun exposure can damage your eyes and increase your risk of developing eye disease. To minimize risk, wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of ultraviolet rays.
Though each of these tips is important, adhering to one or two isn't enough. Doing just one thing won't adequately protect you against the extensive sun exposure you get in the summer months. Wear the hat, the clothing, the sunglasses and the sunscreen. They're all essential ... for everyone. And for additional advice on navigating the summer months safely, download our checklist, "Summer Safety? Check!"