Living in Florida, you might think you know all about sun safety. But the consequences are too severe to be complacent. Skin cancer is preventable, yet more than 3.5 million new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year.
What can be done to stay safe? Use sunscreen correctly. Sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 should be applied to all exposed skin 15 minutes before going outside. It should include protection from both ultraviolet A and B rays. Reapply every two hours or after exercising or swimming. Sunscreen more than two years old should be thrown away.
Understand the UV Index. It’s a useful indicator of how long you can remain in the sun safely. A level between 3-5 is considered a moderate risk for skin damage, 6-7 is high, and 8-10 is very high. Even at a moderate reading, unprotected skin can burn in fewer than 30 minutes. If you work outside, pay attention to this index daily.
Remember when the sun is strongest. You are most likely to suffer skin damage between 10 am and 4 pm. Outside work should be limited during those hours. Also remember to take extra care around water and sand. Those surfaces reflect and magnify the sun’s damaging rays.
Examine your skin for signs of sun damage. Visit a dermatologist if you notice any sores that do not heal or moles that change color or size over time. Be on the lookout for moles with irregular or asymmetrical edges.
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