Don’t Forget to Use Sunscreen!

If you plan on spending time in the sun this summer, (and who doesn’t!), keep this in mind: Melanoma rates doubled between 1982 and 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in this country, and melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer. More than 90% of these deadly melanoma skin cancers are due to skin cell damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure.

Your #1 source of UV radiation exposure is our old friend Mr. Sun.

A new report from CDC said that melanoma will continue to increase over the next 15 years, with 112,000 new cases projected in 2030, unless stringent community measures are taken.

You can take your own measures, though, by avoiding prolonged exposure to UV rays, and by using an effective sunscreen when you are out in the rays.

An “effective” sunscreen is one that covers the UV spectrum, and provides adequate protection. For years, sunscreens with zinc oxide as the key ingredient have been the gold standard in protection. They are sold in different formulations, with the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) describing the level of protection offered.

You should use sunscreen with an SPF of 50 for good protection. But remember: no sunscreen if effective once it wears off, and they all do as your day of fun in the sun progresses. You have to maintain your sunscreen throughout the day – especially if you are in and out of the water.

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