That Summer Glow? It’s Not So Healthy


We’re at the end of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, but really just now heading into the time of year when people everywhere start working on getting their “healthy” summer suntan glow.

With that in mind, The Skin Cancer Foundation is advising everyone to pay extra attention to the potential unhealthful, life-threatening consequences of not taking steps to protect from the sun’s damaging rays.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, and each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer, The Skin Cancer Foundation said.

It does not matter what your age is the color of your skin, skin cancer can affect anyone. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime, according to The Skin Care Foundation’s advisory.

The good news is that skin cancer is highly preventable, if people change their behavior, the group said.

“About 86 percent of melanomas and 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays,” said Perry Robins, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “That’s why embracing proper sun protection is critical year-round. You’ll reduce your skin cancer risk and help prevent wrinkles, leathery skin and brown spots.”

Here’s The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Prevention Guidelines to stay sun-safe:

     —Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.

     —Do not burn.

     —Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.

     —Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.

     —Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

     —Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

     —Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.

     —Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.

     —See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

For more information, visit the Foundation’s website,, which features more than 600 pages of medically-reviewed content on skin cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.

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