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May 13, 2008

Is the Sun Really Your Friend?

When I see someone that looks like they've had too much sun I let them know the importance of wearing sunscreen and limiting their time in the sun. I'm sure most roll their eyes behind my back but I'm on a mission. Why? Because skin cancer is on the rise and my family has been effected by skin cancer and melanoma. You learn a lot when skin cancer plays into your life.

Did you know melanoma is hereditary? I didn't have a clue until my daughter's dad found out he had melanoma. Now my daughter goes to the dermatologist for yearly mole checks. I go for yearly mole checks not because it's hereditary on my side of the family, but because I was a sun lover when I was in my teens and 20s, plus I'm all for prevention.

I limit my time in the sun and use my favorite Sunless Tanning Lotion with moisturizer. I like it because it's lightweight and nongreasy. Remember these lotions don't have sunscreen so you'll want to put on a sunscreen before going outdoors.

Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma.
You can have fun in the sun and decrease your risk of skin cancer.

Here's how to Be Sun Smart (Source:

Generously apply a water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to all exposed skin. Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

Don't forget to protect your lips with a Lip Protector with Sunscreen. You can use it alone or under lipstick or lip gloss.

Look for the AAD SEAL OF RECOGNITION on products that meet these criteria.
Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.

Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.

Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, using protective clothing and applying sunscreen.

Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun.

Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you've been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

[1] American Cancer Society. 2008 Cancer Facts and Figures.
[2} Robinson, JK. Sun Exposure, Sun Protection and Vitamin D. JAMA 2005; 294: 1541-43.
[3] Hemminki K, Dong C. Subsequent cancers after in situ and invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. Arch Dermatol 2000;136:647-51.

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