SUN PROTECTION:

WHICH SUNCREEN SHOULD I GET:

  • Look for sunscreen that says broad spectrum, which covers both UVA and UVB. 
    • The sun protective factor (SPF) should be 15 or higher.
  • When at the beach: use a water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.

WHEN DO I NEED SUNSCREEN:

  • You should apply sunscreen every day of the year. Yes, even on cloudy days.
  • Apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed areas of your skin 15-30 minutes before going outdoors:
    • Protection is needed when exercising, gardening, shopping, even waiting for the bus or driving.
    • Don’t forget those often missed areas: ears, lips, neck, hands, feet and scalp (if hair is thinning).
    • Reapply every 2 hours if outdoors for an extended period of time, or after swimming or sweating.
    •  If in a bathing suit, an average adult should apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons, think 1 shot glass full) of sunscreen to the entire body.

HOW ELSE CAN I PROTECT MY SKIN:

  • Seek shade between 10am - 4pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants.
  • Choose tightly woven fabrics or colors that are dark or bright, which are more protective.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat (at least 3 inch brim extending around the hat).
  • Wear UV-blocking sunglasses with large frames or in a wrap-around style.

WHAT IF I TAN EASILY:

  • There is no such thing as a healthy tan. A tan is the skin’s response to UV rays trying to protect itself from further damage. 
    • Avoid tanning outdoors, and indoors at tanning beds.
    • Using a tanning bed, even occasionally, will increase your risk of skin cancer.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO EXAMINE MY SKIN:

  • Use a full-length mirror to inspect your skin, starting with your face, ears and neck.
  • Don’t forget to check your palms, soles and nails (remove any nail polish prior to examining).
    • Use a mirror to check the groin and buttocks.
    • Ask your hairdresser or barber to check your scalp at each visit for any new lumps or bumps.
  • Go to www.spotskincancer.org for more on how to perform a self-skin exam and to download a body mole map to track your moles.

WHEN SHOULD I SEE A DERMATOLOGIST:

  • Any new or changing mole requires attention (change in color, size, shape), especially in adults.
    • See the doctor immediately for any lesion that becomes itchy, painful, bleeds, or does not heal.
  • Regular skin checks are recommended for any person who has a parent, sibling, or child with melanoma. A full skin examination is recommended once a year.

Sources: AAD.org and skincancer.org