By Dr. Diana Hayslip
Were you one of those teenagers who sunbathed using oil instead of sunscreen?
Did you sit outside for hours with peroxide, Sun-In or lemon juice in your hair, hoping you would get a “natural” highlight?
Did you burn so bad that just looking in the mirror hurt?
If so, it is too late, unfortunately, to reverse the sun’s effects on you.
But it’s not too late to take precautions to protect your children from the harmful rays of the sun.
The sun’s rays, which are called ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays (UVA and UVB rays), damage your skin. This leads to early wrinkles, skin cancer and other skin problems.
A tan is the body’s attempt to protect itself from the sun’s harmful rays.
Even if you don’t burn, being in the sun too often for too long can lead to skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer – this year, more than 3.5 million people will be diagnosed.
Most will have nonmelanoma types of skin cancer, which are the more common, treatable types. Melanoma is less common but more serious.
Almost all skin cancers are the result of too much exposure to ultraviolet light, which is found in sunlight and in tanning salon lights.
We hope no one in your family has or will ever have skin cancer.
To help protect all family members, adopt these skin-protecting measures.
- Seek shade between 10 a.m.-4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the most violent
- Avoid burning
- Avoid tanning
- Cover up with clothing, including a brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses
- Use sunscreen every day
- Apply at least once ounce of sunscreen 30 minutes before you go out in the sun
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours
- If you are swimming, reapply sunscreen as soon as you get out of the water (even if it says waterproof)
- When selecting sunscreen, look for the following on the label:
- SPF 15 to SPF 50
- Offers “broad spectrum” (includes both UVA/UVB protection)
- Contains one or more UVA-filtering ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, stabilized avobenzone or ecamsule.