Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen!

I’m sure you’re tired of being told “Wear suncsreen”…”Reapply your sunscreen”… “You can’t go out without putting on sunscreen”…but the people who tell you that nag you about it for a very good reason. That reason is:

Melanoma 

This is the name of the most serious type of skin cancer. It develops in the cells that produce melanin — the cells that give your skin its color. The exact cause of it isn’t known, but being in the sun or going to tanning beds – being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation – increases your chances of getting it. 

Melanomas – a mole that has changed, or a new spot that looks like a mole but has an odd shape or color, or has changed its shape or color, can appear anywhere on your body. Even places that are not exposed to the sun! You can read about other things to watch for or what types of moles to pay attention to here.

Your chances of developing melanoma are higher if you have fair skin, have had one or more severe (blistering) sun burns, have excessive sun or tanning bed exposure, have 50 or more moles or have unusual moles, live close to the equator, or have a family history of melanoma.

Even if you don’t have any of the high risk factors, it’s important to be aware and to protect yourself. Some ways to protect yourself are to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when you’re in the sun, especially between 10:00am and 4:00pm, and even in the winter. You should also avoid tanning beds, wear appropriate clothing (including sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays), and know what your skin looks like so you know when something changes.

If you’re still not convinced, watch this powerful video about melanoma. You may think it’s sad, but knowing about skin cancer helps you make good choices about being in the sun, and that is the first step in reducing your risks!

(Resources: Mayo Clinic, Brene Brown PhD)

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Posted on August 1, 2011, in Health, You Are Not Alone. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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