Health Tip: Sun Safety

By: Erica Proffer Email
By: Erica Proffer Email

Your outside activity could be putting you in danger. Doctors say even just a few minutes in the sun can lead to many health problems, including cancer.

Carlie Allen loves riding her bicycle.

She and her brother are enjoying some time off from school this week, spending quality time outdoors.

However, Carlie says she is being careful while having fun. "I just wear a hat," she says.

Doctors say it doesn't take much for any sun-worshiper to find real danger.

"It's probably 90% of aging of the skin that comes from UV exposure. What I tell patients is look at the inside of your arm and look at your face. The difference between those two is sun," says Dr. John Ferguson, M.D. of The FACE Clinic.

The southern part of the United States faces some of the most intense UV rays.

That includes Southeast Alabama and the Panhandle of Florida.

Most people know the sun’s rays can be dangerous and can lead to skin cancer, but even some of the pseudo-tans, like pills and lotions can do harm.

"The lotions and makeups that say will give you a little tan will actually decrease the ability to protect yourself from UV radiation. Also, they decrease the performance of sunscreen," says Ferguson.

While some sun exposure is good, the body only needs the amount it takes from you to walk from your house to your car.

"Usually, what I tell patients is cover up. There are a bunch of light clothes that breathe very well and actually have a built-in SPF," says Ferguson.

And, that's advice made for adults and kids alike.

Dr. Ferguson recommends only getting a spray tan if you want the sun-tanned look.

Here are seven Sun Safety Steps according to the FDA:

1.) Stay in the shade. Avoid the sun from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, when the sun is at its strongest.

2.) Use sunscreen products on your skin. Buy the products with an SPF number of 15 or more. Buy products whose label also says: "broad spectrum."

3.) Wear a hat. This will protect neck, ears, eyes and head.

4.) Wear sunglasses. Buy only sunglasses with a label saying the glasses block 99 to 100 percent of the sun's rays.

5.) Cover up. Wear loose, lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts.

6.) Avoid artificial tanning methods. This includes sunlamps and tanning beds, as well as tanning pills and tanning makeup.

7.) Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer. Look for changes in size, shape, color or feel of birthmarks, moles and spots.

For more information, visit the links below.


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