Skin Sense on Sun Sense

I know we have only just launched into Springtime, and the sun has been heavily mingled with the rain recently, but let’s recap on a few tips regarding sun protection. It is always a good thing to get a head start on these things in my opinion.

Skin cancer can originate on any part of the body, but some of the most common areas are the nose, ears, upper backs of men and women and the legs of women because of the high incidence of sun burns in these areas. One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma in later life but the good news is the survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early – before the tumor has penetrated the skin – is about 99%. For those whose melanoma is advanced, the survival rate is much lower, about 15%. The Mayo clinic is currently building a melanoma vaccine to help combat skin cancer from the inside out. Called cancer immunotherapy it is already showing some promising results and may help to improve the above statistics in the future.

Meanwhile, here are a few important tips to keep you safe. First and foremost, wear a daily SPF and get checked by your dermatologist at least once a year – a full body examination.

Remember to apply your sunscreen 20-30 minutes before exposure, on top of your day creme and under your make-up. For longer periods of exposure, re-apply regularly and generously depending on how long you are outdoors and the sensitivity of your skin. Special Note: water renders most sunscreens ineffective so always re-apply after swimming. Also, apply a good dose of common sense to being outside – use hats, wear long sleeves, stay in the shade, avoid the mid-day sun and on long drives, wear cotton gloves to protect the hands. Remember that SPF 30 blocks 96.6% of the sun’s rays. Higher SPF’s are often more expensive, give a false sense of security, only provide 2-4% extra protection and can be irritating.

Finally, include anti-oxidants in your diet and in your topical skin care regimes. Vitamins E and C, peptides, hyaluronic acid and ceramides strengthen the skin’s natural resistance to the sun, and  vegetables containing beta carotene, apricots, tomatoes, green tea and fish oils reduce inflammation and sensitivity. For women, mineral cosmetics provide another layer of protection.

Self tanning lotions have come a long way in recent years. They smell better, look a lot more natural and offer a much safer way of achieving a golden hue in the summer months. When you have a fit of nostalgia and start thinking about those old fashioned sun bathing sessions just remind yourself that the sun is on the top of the list as far as aging is concerned. I think we all saw “Something about Mary”. Need I say more!!

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