Summer is here. Let’s brush up on sun safety practices. While it is important to spend time outdoors, we should be mindful of protecting our skin from sun damage.
In as little as 15 minutes the sun’s UV rays can burn the skin; you can still get sunburn on cool, cloudy days. Practicing sun safety is important because overexposure to sunlight can lead to skin cancer, the most common (yet most preventable) form of cancer in the United States.
Follow these sun safety tips to protect your skin this summer: Apply sunscreen with at least 15 SPF, and reapply every two hours and after swimming; seek shade under trees, umbrellas, or other forms of shelter; wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants – keep in mind that dark, tightly woven materials offer the most protection; wear a hat with a brim wide enough to cover your head, neck, and ears; wear sunglasses that have UVA and UVB protection; and limit time outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
The most dangerous form of skin cancer is Melanoma. Regular skin checks are crucial for detecting and treating Melanoma and other skin cancers early. Home skin-checks can be completed using the ABCDE method of identifying concerning moles.
The ABCDE Method criteria is as follows: A – Asymmetry, one half does not look like the other; B – Border, jagged, scalloped, or uneven borders; C – Color, contain different colors or are a strange color (blue, black); D – Diameter, larger than the size of a pencil eraser (6mm); and E – Evolving, changes over time (grows larger, changes color).
If you or a loved one notices a strange freckle or mole that fits at least one of the ABCDE criteria, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or a dermatologist as soon as possible.