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Time to Slather on the Sunscreen
- May 09, 2016
Summer is just around the corner, and after a long winter, many of us can’t wait for those pool days and hours in the sun. But before you grab your favorite magazine and relax poolside, be sure to apply your sunscreen.
 
According to the American Cancer Society®, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer with nearly 3.5 million cases each year in the US. Taking preventive measures, such as applying sunscreen, wearing the proper clothing and limiting your time outdoors, is the best defense against the sun’s harmful rays.
 
So, what type of sunscreen should you use? The American Academy of Dermatology suggests using a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Be sure to apply the product thoroughly 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure and again every few hours after that.
 
Don’t forget these key application areas:
 
  • Our ears are not typically the first place we think to apply sunscreen, but it’s important to keep them protected. Recent studies have found that the ears are the third-most-frequent location for skin cancers to develop.
  • The back of the neck is often forgotten. Be sure not to skimp on the sunscreen in this crucial area.
  • Whether you are balding or have a full head of hair, the scalp is subject to burn just like the rest of the body. You can apply sunscreen or wear a hat for protection.
  • Be sure to properly shield your face. (No, ladies, those big sunglasses and SPF in your makeup are not enough!) If you’re worried about breakouts, try an oil-free sunscreen made for sensitive skin or specifically for the face.
  • Lip balm isn’t just for chapped, dry lips in the winter months. Your lips need protection from the sun, too. Try a brand with SPF 30 or higher.
 
Remember; the few minutes it takes to apply sunscreen now might save you later. Taking precautions against UVA and UVB rays is a simple step toward a healthier lifestyle.
 
Have you completed a self-examination of your skin lately? A monthly self-check can help with early detection and treatment of skin cancers. If you notice anything unusual, or if you have questions about how to protect yourself from the sun, contact a Schneck dermatologist today (Kevin M. Crawford, MD, 812-358-7705, or Michael P. Sheehan, MD, 800-964-9344). 
 
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