Summer Sun Safety

From Custer Health

It’s summertime – and that means lots of time out­side, soaking up the sun. After all, sum­mer is short in North Dakota – we need to take advantage of it, right? And the sun’s rays make us feel good, and in the short term, make us look good. What harm can it do?

Truth is, it can cause a lot of harm: sun exposure causes many of the wrin­kles and age spots on our faces and is the number one cause of skin cancer.

But that’s not all. Sun exposure also causes many of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place. The skin also bruises and tears more easily — taking longer to heal. Not to mention pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions, benign tumors, fine and coarse wrinkles, freckles, discolored areas of the skin, and the dilation of small blood vessels under the skin.

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can some­times repair itself. So, it’s never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Follow these tips from www. webmd.com to help prevent sun-related skin problems:

  • Apply s un­screen with a sun protection fac­tor (SPF) of 30 or greater at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and then ev­ery few hours thereafter.
  • Select cosmetic products and contact lenses that offer UV protection.
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV pro­tection
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts, and pants.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • Eighty percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. As a parent, be a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child.

For more sun safety tips, visit our web­site, www.custerhealth.com.

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