I'm not going to lie, I love the sun.
Everyday the weather permits, my daughters and I are outside playing. BUT, we are a fair-skinned bunch, so before we head out, I slather them in sunscreen. They moan and groan about it, but too bad, "no sunscreen, no outside" I say. I make sure I've got some on too. I've got a few sunburns under my belt from my teenage years, and yes, I regrettably visited a tanning bed or two, so I want to be careful. Not only do I want to be around a long time for my kids, who wants more wrinkles?
According to The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, there are more than three and a half million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the U.S. every year. That's why they've designated the Friday before Memorial Day, "Don't Fry Day." Their goal: "to reduce the rising rates of skin cancer to UV rays" and "to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors."
"Zinc oxide" is the ingredient you're looking for in a sunscreen, says Dr. Bella Zubkov, of Dermatology Associates of Glastonbury. She also recommends a "30 or higher SPF" for her patients. "Anything over 50 gives people a false sense of confidence. You need to reapply every 90 minutes." Also consider this when shopping for your sunscreen, I was surprised to hear her tell me, "don't use spray sunscreens." Dr. Zubkov says some of them contain "toxic" ingredients. Because sunscreens are not approved for children under 6 months of age, Dr. Zubkov suggests "strollers that contain ultraviolet protective fabric or sun protection clothing you can get at sporting goods stores."
Dr. Zubkov says "a tan equals sun damage" so if you notice anything that "looks different than anything else on your body" call your dermatologist for a skin cancer check. Remember the ABCDE's too: asymmetry, border, color, diameter (more than 6mm) and evolution (changes). "I've seen melanoma skin cancers in every part of the body, including the scalp" So, don't forget that hat!
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