MEDICAL SPOTLIGHT: American Academy of Dermatology Offers Tips to Protect Your Skin From the Sun

By  //  May 23, 2018

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beach-goers beware and 'tan smart'

School’s out and teens will be heading for the beach. The American Academy of Dermatology encourages those who are thinking of trying to change their skin by tanning to reconsider and keep it safe by taking steps to protect themselves from the sun’s dangerous UV exposure.

As Memorial Day signals the unofficial start of summer this weekend, teens will be eager to get out of school and spend time outside — and some may want to get a tan. But a new public service advertisement from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) encourages those who are thinking of tanning to think again and “tan smart.”

A tan is a sign that your skin has been injured. Whether you’re exposed to the sun’s UV rays or visit an indoor tanning salon, every time you tan, your skin is damaged.

As this damage builds, you speed up the aging of your skin and increase your risk for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The AAD advocates that everyone take steps to prevent skin cancer by staying out of indoor tanning beds, and protecting themselves from the sun by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Follow these specific AAD tips to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays and reduce your risk of skin cancer:

  • Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
    • Use sunscreen whenever you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days.
    • Apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin. For more adults, this is about an ounce, or enough to fill a shot glass.

  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  • Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer and premature skin aging.
  • Consider using a self-tanning product if you want to look tan, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
  • Perform regular skin self-exams to detect skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable, and see a board-certified dermatologist if you notice new or suspicious spots on your skin, or anything changing, itching or bleeding.
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For more information on skin cancer prevention and detection, visit the AAD website SpotSkinCancer.org. There, you can find instructions on how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map for tracking changes in your skin and find free SPOTme® skin cancer screenings in your area. SPOT Skin Cancer™ is the AAD’s campaign to create a world without skin cancer through public awareness, community outreach programs and services, and advocacy that promote the prevention, detection and care of skin cancer.

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