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Home > Health & Wellness > Health Education > Skin Safety Tips
Published on March 26, 2018
Hello, Spring! Bring on the sunshine and outdoors. Being outside in the sun has many health benefits, such as boosting vitamin D and promoting exercise, but your skin is at serious risk unless properly protected. Too much sun can cause age spots, coarse wrinkles, a leathery texture and skin cancer.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the #1 cause of skin cancer. So, how do you reap the benefits of being outdoors without severely damaging your skin?
Apply SPF 15 to 30 at least 30 minutes before going outside and should be reapplied every two hours; apply more often if you are sweating or swimming. Don’t forget your lips, the tops of the ears, hairline, chest, nose and hands. These areas are often overlooked and very susceptible to damage.
Wearing a hat is an easy way to shade and protect your face. Sunglasses with UV protection will protect your eyes as well as the skin around them. Also, look for clothing and cosmetics with UV defense for additional help that requires minimal effort.
The sun’s UV rays are most powerful between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These hours require diligent protection. And, don’t forget that UV rays can easily break through clouds, so your skin is affected even if you do not feel hot on cool, cloudy days.
Anyone’s skin is at risk for skin damage and cancer, but some people are more vulnerable than others. Those with fair or freckled skin, light eyes, blonde or red hair, and moles are more susceptible. Other factors include a family history of skin cancer, and outdoor job, and certain medications that increase the risk of sunburn.
If you have a mole or patch of skin that changes in pigment or size, it is very important to ask your family doctor take a look. He or she can also refer you to a skin specialist for further assistance. If you do not have a primary care doctor, please call (319) 369-4444 or visit www.mercycare.org/findadoc to get help in finding one.