Love and Protect Your Skin

by Kyle Washburn
Health & Fitness Editor
Thursday Apr 25, 2013

After a long winter, many of us are currently enjoying spring and the beginning of warmer temperatures. Yet many people are also antsy for summer's arrival. It is the time and opportunity to thaw out, catch some rays, and maximize outdoor time.

Keep in mind though, that May is skin cancer awareness month.
We all know that we should wear sun block and take precautions to avoid skin cancer. Sometimes that is easier said than done.

Here are some tips to salvage your skin now and in the future.

1. Refrain from using tanning beds.
Many people believe a base tan from tanning beds prior to actual sun exposure helps prevent sun burns. Unfortunately these beds radiate your skin in a harmful way.

2. Use sunscreen frequently and liberally, even on cloudy or hazy days.
Cloud coverage is deceptive. Rays still penetrate the atmosphere and clouds and cause skin damage. We usually do not feel the intense heat and spend more time outdoors, which can cause skin damage, wrinkles, and cancer.

3. Wear sunscreen even if you wear makeup.
Even makeup with SPF is no substitute for sunscreen. Sunscreen is 14 times more effective. Plus one-third of skin cancers occur above the neck.

4. Apply a full and broad spectrum of sunscreens.
This provides protection from every form of light (UVA and UVB) both of which can harm your skin.

5. Apply a sunscreen with a minimum SPF number of 30.
You have all summer and plenty of time to get color or a tan. There is no need to rush to obtain on the first day. A sunburn is bad enough, why risk unsightly peeling and skin cancer.

6. Choose sunscreen with ingredients such as avobenzone, cinoxate, ecamsule, oxybenzone, and sulisobenzone.
These ingredients are more effective in protecting your skin.

7. Check the sunscreen expiration date.
Its shelf life is shortened if exposed to high temperatures. Since we usually bring sunscreen outside for application and reapplication, the heat exposure reduces the lotion's ability to be effective against rays. A good suggestion is to start fresh each summer.

8. Wear sunglasses.
These protect the delicate skin around the eyes, not to mention they prevent you from squinting and forming wrinkles.

9. Wear a hat and apply sunscreen to the scalp.
The head is almost always in the sun. Many people forget to protect this delicate area, especially those with a lot of hair. Sun rays still penetrate through and can burn and damage your head.

10. Eat red foods, especially tomatoes and apples.
Some studies have found that red foods reduce the risk of a sunburn.

11. Take aspirin or ibuprofen if you do get a sunburn. These help reduce the pain and discomfort since they are anti-inflammatories.

12. Be aware of cancer warning signs.
These include a spot or sore that hurts, itches, scabs and bleeds for over two weeks. Another sign is any growth, brown spot, or beauty mark that changes in color, size, thickness, is irregular and asymmetrical, and bigger than the size of a pencil eraser.

Most people love summer and being outside. Even for people who prefer to stay indoors, it is imperative for everyone to protect his or her skin. Any time you venture outside, be sure to protect your skin and yourself. Follow these tips to avoid skin cancer. Live a long and healthy life.

Kyle Washburn is the National Health and Fitness Editor at Edge Publications, Inc. He earned a BS in Physiology, M.Ed in Sport Psychology and Counseling and an MBA. He is a certified personal trainer through NASM and ACE and has been training for over ten years. He is an avid triathlete, softball and tennis player, runner, hiker and enjoys the outdoors.


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