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Summer time means sunburn time. Bring out the SPF 70!
Personally, I am no stranger to the uncomfortable sensation of a sunburn. Blisters, peeling skin, baths in aloe. Having fair skin can be quite a challenge — especially in the South. Regardless if your skin is fair, like mine, or a bit darker, skin protection should be a necessity of anyone’s life.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that skin cancer is the number one most diagnosed type of cancer in the U.S.: about 1 in 5 Americans develop skin cancer. In 2009, about 2,040 Georgians were diagnosed with melanoma, and each year about 193 Georgians die due to melanoma.
This is a problem.
Skin Cancer Prevention Actions
There are many steps we can take to decrease these numbers. It might mean a change in lifestyle, but in the end, you won’t regret it.
- Limit time in the sun (especially between 10am and 4pm)
- Avoid tanning beds
- Cover up (long-sleeves, pants, sunglasses, hats, etc.)
- Shade is our friend
- Take a look at the UV Index
- Wear sunscreen
Sunscreen is a tricky one. The FDA provides a great brochure explaining the importance of sunscreen. Basically, make sure you buy "Broad Spectrum" with SPF 15 or higher AND reapply every 2 hours (more if you’re doing an activity where you get wet). Sunscreen not labeled “Broad Spectrum” or that’s less than SPF 15 only really helps prevent sunburn (not skin cancer or aging).
I personally love being outside and in the sun, but I always have to be cognizant of the damage the sun can cause. However, with proper protections, we all can enjoy the outdoors and be safe.
About the Author
Bethany McDaniel is the Editorial Director for GeorgiaGov. She graduated from Berry College in Rome, Ga., with degrees in Visual Communication and History.