Who needs skin protection?
Saturday 25th of March 2017
matter what your age or skin color, or whether it's summer or winter, you
need to protect yourself from the sun. Your skin is an excellent record
keeper. Every moment in the sun adds up, accumulating like money in the
bank. The payoff, however, is damage to the skin and possibly skin cancer.
One in six Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in
life. At least 90% of these cancers result from long-term exposure
to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Sunlight is also responsible for wrinkles, blotching, drying and
leathering of the skin, making you look old before your time. The
best defense, now and for the future, is to limit time in the sun
and protect yourself whenever you go outdoors.
TIPS FOR USING A SUNSCREEN
1. Test your sunscreen on a small patch of skin to see if any
irritation occurs. Sunscreens differ in the types and concentrations
of ingredients used.
2. For young children, use a milky lotion or cream. These
formulations are more soothing than clear lotions, which may contain
3. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding the upper and
lower eyelids. Children tend to rub their eyes, and some sunscreen
products can be irritating.
4. For teens with acne, consult a doctor for a sunscreen that
won't cause the condition to flare up.
5. Use a sunscreen stick or lip balm for areas such as the
lips, scalp, nose and ears. Zinc oxide can also be used on these
6. Apply the sunscreen liberally on all uncovered areas,
except the eyes.
7. Apply the sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going out. The
extra time allows the active ingredients to sink into the skin.
Reapply frequently - every 60 to 90 minutes.
8. Choose a water-resistant or waterproof product if you or
your child will be in the water or perspiring heavily. Again,
SKIN CANCER FACTS
1. Skin cancer accounts for about one third of all reported
malignancies in the U.S.
2. More than one third of all Americans over 65 will get skin
cancer at least once in their lifetime.
3. Malignant melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer, is
beginning to occur at an especially high rate in women under 40.
4. More than 90 percent of all basal and squamous cell
carcinomas are thought to be caused by overexposure to the sun.
Here comes the Sun...
The next time you think of going out in the sun unprotected,
consider this: the sun gives off three types of harmful ultraviolet
rays. They are:
UV-A (Ultraviolet A) These rays penetrate deep into the skin,
gradually destroying its elasticity, causing premature aging and
contributing to skin cancer.
UV-B (Ultraviolet B) These rays can cause unprotected skin to
burn and are thought to be the primary cause of skin cancer.
UV-C (Ultraviolet C) These rays are deadly to plant and
animal life. The ozone layer protects the earth by absorbing UV-C
rays. But with the ozone layer thinning, we may be exposed to more
UV-C rays in the future, possibly contributing to an increase in
skin cancer and eye damage.
There are approximately 700,000 new skin cancer cases per year
diagnosed in the United States, and an estimated 9,100 number of
Summer means longer, warmer days and more time spent outdoors. With
those pleasures, unfortunately, comes an increased risk of skin
cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology predicts that American
physicians will diagnose over a million cases of skin cancer this
year, with the most serious type, malignant melanoma, expected to
kill over 7,500 people. That means that the incidence of malignant
melanoma is increasing at a greater rate than any other cancer, and
translates into one American dying every hour from the disease.
"Everybody sensed the risk was rising rapidly, but seeing the
numbers is a little frightening," says Dr. Jay Mendelson, associate
professor of dermatology at University Medical School.
A report Mendelson delivered to the Academy of Dermatology, based
on data from hospital tumor registries nationwide, offers the most
comprehensive analysis of just how common the disease has become. In
1930, the risk of developing melanoma for Americans was just 1 in
1,500. That rose to 1 in 250 by 1980. If current rates continue,
Mendelson says, by the year 2000 the lifetime risk will be 1 in 75.
Doctors have warned for years about the rising rate of melanoma.
It is the fifth most common cancer in the United States--behind
lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers. "There's a delay of 10 to
20 years from the time of damage by exposure to the sun to the time
we see melanomas, so the increases we're seeing today are due to
what people did in the 1970s and '80s," says Mendelson. "We're
hoping as people become more aware we'll see those rates begin to
level off." Although 80 to 90 percent of the sun-related damage that
can lead to melanoma occurs prior to age 18, the peak age for
developing the disease is 45 to 60.