ASDS Offers Sun-safe Tips

May 20, 2013

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) partnered with Neutrogena four years ago to create Choose Skin Health, a program that encourages the practice of sun-safe behaviors, including skin cancer prevention through screenings, the regular use of sunscreen, and monthly self-exams. The partnership resulted in more than 6,500 free skin cancer screenings. One in 10 people undergoing the screenings were diagnosed with skin cancer. The program also has an ASDS online search feature that makes it easy to find a local dermatologist offering free skin cancer screenings. While patients cannot always avoid the sun, they can avoid skin cancer with these five important tips: ---Avoid outdoor excursions when the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays are at their strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Indirect sunlight also can be dangerous as UV rays that reflect off water, sand, concrete, and even areas painted bright white can cause sun damage. ---Apply at least SPF 30 sunscreen and a broad-spectrum lip balm a half hour before exposure to the sun and reapply regularly when outside, as the risk of developing skin cancer doubles if you've had five or more sunburns in your lifetime. ---Wear appropriate clothing. A white T-shirt only provides the protection of an SPF 4 sunscreen, so darker colors or tightly woven fabrics, such as silk and polyester, are safer options. A wide-brim hat can reduce exposure of the scalp, forehead, neck, ears, and eyes by 70 percent. ---Stay out of tanning beds, as people who use them at least once a month increase their risk of skin cancer by 55 percent, according to studies, and the numbers are even more ominous for people who begin such tanning regimens in their 20s or teens. ---Examine your skin regularly, especially looking any new black-colored moles or changes in the size, shape, outline, color, or feel of existing moles. Immediately contact your dermatologist if you see anything suspicious.

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