Protect your skin from sun damage and skin cancer

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — As the summer weather continues to heat up, many of us are taking advantage of the outdoors. However, there are some precautions you want to keep in mind to protect your skin from the sun.

The best way to protect yourself from the rays of the sun is to cover up. You can wear a hat, sunglasses, long sleeve shirts and most importantly sunscreen.

Northwest Health, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Ashley Moyer says repeated exposure to the sun can cause early skin aging effects like wrinkles and dark spots. It can also cause sun damage and cause cancer cells to form.

She says your biggest defense is sunscreen and it needs to be at least SPF of 30. You should apply a generous amount to your exposed body parts every day. Don’t forget your ears, eyelids, nose and top of your feet. She reminds folks that you can still get sunburn even if the sun is not directly shining on you

“If you’re a truck driver and your driving with your arm out, make sure you are putting sunscreen on that arm too… because you can get sunburn from even doing that. The more you burn the more you are at risk for skin cancer,” said Moyer.

Look for the broad-spectrum protection label on your sunscreen. That means it protects against UVB rays which are the rays that cause sunburn and UVA rays that cause tanning and premature aging.

You also want to reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours, especially after swimming or heavy sweating.

If someone is wearing a mask, is sunscreen necessary? The answer is yes because the mask just doesn’t give you the full protection you need for your skin, that’s according to skincancer.org. It recommends putting an even layer of sunscreen on your face, get into a good skincare habit and you will also avoid half your face looking a different shade than the other half.

If you have a sunburn your skin may get red, feel warm and tender and if it is not excessive you can treat it at home, on your own. The first thing to do is to get out of the sun.

Moyer recommends applying aloe vera or cool wet towels to the affected area. You want to drink plenty of water because severe burns can lead to dehydration and fever.

Now if more than 15 percent of your body is burned then you should speak to a doctor.

Now repeated sun exposure can also lead to skin cancer. In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. according to the CDC. That’s why it’s important to check your skin regularly.

“You want to make sure that you know your body, and if you see something that is forming that is concerning to you then getting in and getting it checked faster is better so that it doesn’t progress,” said Moyer.

She adds to look out for any moles or growths on your skin. If there are any changes to size, shape or color then you should go see a specialist.

Keep in mind that anyone can get skin cancer, so regardless of your skin tone or color, you want to protect it and wear sunscreen.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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