Northwest Herald – Protecting Your Skin


northwest herald

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By: Joshua Kaufman (Sponsored)

Warmer weather in Chicago means it is outdoor season. And while there are health benefits to spending time outdoors with friends and family, it’s also important to remember the dangers of sun exposure. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Each year, 5 million American are diagnosed with skin cancer. It’s the most common form of cancer but also one of the most preventable.

We can follow some easy steps protect our skin while enjoying the outdoors. For starters, a tan does not indicate good health. According to the CDC, a tan is your skin’s response to injury. Skin cells hurt by UV rays produce more pigment. This exposure can cause skin cancers including melanoma, basal cell cataracts and squamous cell carcinoma.

When outdoors you should protect yourself with these easy tips.

  • Wear the right clothing that covers your arms and legs
  • Wear a hat that protects your eyes, nose and ears
  • Use sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15+ with both UVA and UVB protection. And re-apply when outdoors for long periods.

Even with the right protection, you should check your skin on a regular basis for any abnormalities. It’s as simple as A-B-C-D-E’s of melanoma with these simple guidelines from the CDC:

  • “A” stands for asymmetrical. Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape?
  • “B” stands for border. Is the border irregular or jagged?
  • “C” is for color. Is the color uneven?
  • “D” is for diameter. Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
  • “E” is for evolving. Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?

Finally, some of us are more at risk than others for potential skin cancer. Including those with:

  • Lighter natural skin color
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily
  • Blue/Green eyes
  • Blond/Red hair
  • Family/Personal history of skin cancer
  • Older Adults

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