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Winter sunscreen reminders

Posted by on Dec. 12, 2012 at 3:27 AM
  • 1 Replies

Just a PSA about sunscreen! :)  Remember that just because it's not hot or you're not swimming, you still need sunscreen every day.  Incidental sun exposure like just getting the mail, driving, etc all add up.  I had 2 skin cancers removed last year.  One was on my collar bone.  The scar healed ok, but it's certainly a daily reminder to use sunscreen and check my skin for changes.  My friend had a TINY spot on her cheek she thought was just a freckle, but it turned out to be a melanoma.  Luckily it had not spread, it is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer, and required fairly invasive surgery on her face to make sure they got it all and obviously really scared her and her children. My Dh's dad died from melanoma that spread when DH was 14, and we're all of Scottish/Irish descent so we're fair skinned and burn easily.  I've always been really good with the kids, but when DH and I were little they just didn;t have adequate sunscreen, so we both got many bad burns as kids... and now I'm starting to pay for that. 

From the Skin Cancer Foundation:

A sunscreen's SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures how long unprotected skin can be exposed to the sun's shortwave, ultraviolet B (UVB), rays before burning, compared with how long it takes to burn without protection. If used correctly, sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would prevent sunburn 15 times longer than if the product weren't used. Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 effectively filters out about 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays, while SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50, 98 percent. These higher SPFs can make a difference for people with skin that always burns rather than tans, people with photosensitive conditions such as lupus, those taking medications that increase photosensitivity, and outdoor sports enthusiasts who spend a lot of time in the sun.

However, a high SPF alone is not enough. SPF measures protection against UVB, but not against the sun's long-wave, ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, and new research shows that UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, causing as much or even more damage. UVA is also the key cause of sun-induced skin aging (photoaging). So look for products that offer "broad spectrum" or "UVA/ UVB" protection, and make sure your sunscreen has one or more of these UVA-filtering ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, stabilized avobenzone, or ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM). Remember, use sunscreen every day, year-round, in every kind of weather. Here's why:

  • sunlight reflects off snow, ice, sand and water, intensifying UVR effects by up to 80 percent. So in winter, be sure that your hands, neck, and as much as possible of your face are covered. If your skin gets dry, moisturizing sunscreen formulas are a great idea.
  • even on overcast days, 70-80 percent of UVR travels through clouds.
  • at high altitudes, for example when you're skiing, the thinner atmosphere filters out less UVR.

Examine your skin head-to-toe once every month

Here's how:

  • In a full-length mirror, inspect your skin. Start with your head and face, using a blow dryer to check your scalp.
  • Check hands, including nails. Examine elbows, arms, underarms, torso and trunk.
  • With your back to the mirror, use a hand mirror to check your back, the back of your neck, and other hard-to-see places.
  • Sitting down, check legs and feet, including soles, heels, toes, and nails. Use the hand mirror to examine genitals.

Look for skin changes of any kind. Cancer warning signs include:

  • a spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode or bleed
  • an open sore that does not heal within two weeks a skin growth, mole, beauty mark or brown spot that:
    • changes color or appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multicolored
    • changes in texture
    • increases in size or thickness
    • is asymmetrical
    • is irregular in outline or border
    • is bigger than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser
    • appears after age 21

See your physician every year for a professional skin cancer exam.

And ask your child's pediatrician to examine his or her skin thoroughly as part of a yearly check-up. This is especially important for children and teens at high risk for sun damage, such as those with fair skin, light eyes and hair, and those with a personal or family history of skin cancer.

Regular total-body checkups are the best way to make sure your skin is healthy and stays that way.

Follow these tips and you can enjoy yourself safely outdoors, minimizing the sun's dangers while maximizing your health.

The Seal of Recommendation

One good way to select quality sun protection products is to look for The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation. The Foundation's Photobiology Committee grants the seal to products that meet the highest standards for safety and effectiveness. Learn more about The Seal of Recommendation.

by on Dec. 12, 2012 at 3:27 AM
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by on Dec. 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM
1 mom liked this

I've been diligently been applying spf.  

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