4 Ways to Protect Your Skin

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May 24, 2013


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This post is available in: Spanish

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention declares the Friday before Memorial Day, May 24, as “Don’t Fry Day.”  You’re encouraged to protect your skin on this day and every day while enjoying the outdoors. The Council offers an easy phrase about sun safety:

“Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap!”

  • Slip on a shirt.
  • Slop on sunscreen.
  • Slap on a hat.
  • Wrap on sunglasses.
  • Pediatric Dermatologist, Ana Duarte, M.D., says excessive exposure can be detrimental to your health. Excessive sun exposure, she says, can cause accelerated aging, sunburns and, of the greatest concern, skin cancer.

    Remember: a single sunburn can strike you twice…now and in the future. Short-term effects include freckles, blisters and possibly moles. Long-term damage, known by some dermatologists as the “Slow Burn,” includes premature aging (wrinkles, blemishes and sun spots) and a higher risk for skin cancer.

    “Just one blistering sunburn acquired during childhood more than doubles your lifetime risk of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of  skin cancer,”  Dr. Duarte said.

    Here are tips Dr. Duarte recommends for protecting your own and your family’s skin:

  • Hit the shade. Limit your exposure to the sun, especially from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., even on cloudy days.
  • Dress for safety. Wear protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat that shades the head, face, neck and ears. Tightly woven clothing also can offer protection.
  • Apply sunscreen: During outdoor activities, you and your kids should wear sunscreen and reapply it every two hours.
  • Study labels: Sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) that rates how effectively the product blocks out ultraviolet rays and protects against sunburns. Dr. Duarte advises choosing one with a rating of at least 30. On the bottle label, look for the phrases “broad spectrum protection” and “water resistant.”
  • Dr. Duarte suggests examining your own and your family’s skin regularly and recognize changes in moles and skin growths. Talk to your doctor about any skin changes you see.

    “People of all ages, races and ethnicities can be at risk for skin cancer, but it is curable if detected in its early stages,” she said.

    If you have questions about skin cancer prevention or treatment, call Baptist Health’s Cancer Resource Service at 786-596-2430 or email CancerInfo@BaptistHealth.net.

    Want to learn more?

  • Visit the FDA’s Sun Safety alert.
  • Go to Don’t Fry Day.
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