We all look forward to the summer time – enjoying the warm weather in casual clothes, relaxing at the beach, sunbathing, swimming and playing with our dearest ones. The sun fills us with optimism and energy and invites us to go outdoors and engage in different leisure activities.
Moderate exposure to the sun is also necessary for the creation of vitamin D in our body, which is essential to keep our bones strong and to strengthen our immune system.
On the other hand, if we expose ourselves to the sunlight for too long, we could end up having damaged skin, from sunburn and premature aging to more serious changes.
Unfortunately, the sunrays have become more harmful for our skin than ever with the spreading of the hole in the ozone layer. Dermatologist keep warning us that skin cancer is the main type of cancer in the United States and that we should protect ourselves from the damaging effects of UV radiation.
Here are some general rules for protection:
Avoid exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The skin-damaging ultraviolet rays are the most powerful during this time, so it is best not to spend it in the sun.
Cover up your body
You should wear light-colored clothes made of natural materials with long sleeves to protect your arms, as well as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to cover up the head, the neck, and the eyelids.
It is also important to protect the ears, which is something we often fail to do.
Sunscreens should be used even on a cloudy weather. The best sunscreens are water resistant, they have a SPF factor of at least 30, and they protect against the two harmful types of radiation – ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B. The recommended amount of sunscreen that you should apply to your skin 15-30 minutes before sun exposure is 1 ounce, which fits the size of your palm.
Lips should also be protected, so you should use a lipstick or a balm with a SPF factor.
Inspect your skin and visit a dermatologist
It is very important to check your skin on a regular basis. Most people have more than 30 moles that can appear anywhere on the body. The majority of them are benign changes on the skin, which actually represent a cluster of cells.
Already existing moles should be checked for any changes, as well as any new ones that have emerged. If you notice that a mole is beginning to grow, bleed or change its color, visit a dermatologist immediately.
Do not use tanning beds
Despite the attractive appearance of tanned skin, using tanning beds can also result in premature aging of the skin and spots. Darker skin means that more melanin, the colored pigment of the skin, is created as a way to protect the skin from the harmful UV rays. The UV light that tanning beds radiate is as harmful as the sun’s. The safe alternative is applying a self-tanning product.
Be well hydrated
Our body consists of about 70 percent water, which is the most important and often neglected nutrient for the proper functioning of our body. It is vital that you drink a lot of fluids in hot weather to maintain your health and prevent your skin from getting dry and more sensitive to the sun’s harmful radiation.
The ABCD rule to recognize potential melanoma signs in a mole
1.A for Asymmetry:
This means that a mole does not have a regular shape, or its two halves look differently.
2. B for Border:
Moles with uneven, rough and blurred edges have signs for potential cancerous changes.
3. C for Color:
Moles could vary in color – from very light to very dark brown, black, or pink. The important factor is that the color of the mole should be equal in all its parts. If the color changes in tone or if it is not evenly distributed, it could be an indication of melanoma.
4. D for Diameter:
The size of the mole is also an indication when we are trying to detect the symptoms of a malignant growth. A mole should not be bigger than the size of a pencil eraser, or ¼ inch.
The following symptoms could also indicate melanoma in a mole:
– The area around the mole is itchy, tender or painful
– The texture and elevation of the mole has changed, or it has become scaly or begun to bleed
– A throat that is continuously sore
– Redness or swelling that has spread from the edges of the mole to the nearest areas of the skin
Despite the fact that this topic is not pleasant and people tend to avoid discussing about it, I suggest that we heed doctors’ advice. After all, prevention is better than cure.