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Quick: What’s the most common form of cancer in this country? Nope, not breast or lung cancer. It’s skin cancer, and it will affect more than 2 million people this year alone. Knowing how to protect yourself is crucial. Here, we make shielding your skin from those damaging ultraviolet rays easy.
Know your skin type. While everyone is susceptible to skin cancer, it’s important to understand your natural skin type and tone. Someone of Celtic descent with skin type I or II, which are very fair, is going to need more daily protection than someone of type III or IV of Mediterranean ancestry with an olive skin tone.
Protect yourself outdoors. Following the American Cancer Society’s “Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap” guidelines makes this easy: Slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen (with an SPF of 30 or higher), slap on a hat and wrap on sunglasses to protect not only your eyes but the skin around them. Your sunglasses need to wrap around your face and not simply protect straight ahead, as ultraviolet light hits from the side and back, too.
Spend a lot of time outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These are the hours when the sun’s rays are most intense, so try to avoid or at least limit your exposure during this period.
Use tanning beds. You may think they’re safer but tanning lamps and beds emit ultraviolet radiation, just like the sun.
Skip those tricky spots. There are areas that most of us miss, such as behind and on the tops of your ears, the backs of your hands and arms, the tops of your feet and even your scalp. UV light does penetrate through hair, thus, wearing a hat is especially important.
For more information or for a physician referral, call 1.800.4BAYLOR or search our physician directory.
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