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Now that the snow has melted and the sun is finally starting to shine, it's time to prepare for the warm summer weather to come.

With skin cancer rates constantly on the rise, it is important to know how to have fun in the sun and still be sun smart. The American Academy of Dermatology has tips on how to care for your skin properly during the warm summer days.

Sun protection isn't just for the beach. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen every day that you may be outside. Even if your time outside is minimal (walking to or from your car, at work or running errands during the day), dermatologists strongly suggest using a daily moisturizer that contains a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher.

If you are going to be sweating or getting wet, the sun screen should be reapplied every hour to maintain optimal protection.

While outdoors, seek shade whenever possible and wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants and wide-brimmed hats. Use extra caution near water and sand, which could reflect the rays of the sun and intensify its damage. You may need a sunscreen with a higher SPF than you normally use and limit time spent in the sun to guard against reflected rays.

Always avoid tanning beds. Baking under the ultraviolet lights of a tanning bed greatly increases the risk of developing a serious form of skin cancer called melanoma. If you're looking for that bronzed, "sun-kissed" look, try self-tanners or a harmless spray-on tan, and continue to use sun protection.

Parents, be sure to protect your children from the sun by generously applying a broad spectrum sunscreen and reapplying it every hour, while they are playing outside.

Lastly, check your birthday suit on your birthday. Check your skin monthly and have your primary care provider check it at your annual exam. Get to know your moles and watch them closely for any changes. If you notice one of your moles growing in size, changing in appearance or color, or bleeding, bring it to the attention of your doctor.

Skin cancer is most treatable if caught early, but can be deadly if left untreated or ignored.

For more information on checking moles and on using sun protection, log onto the American Academy of Dermatology website at www.aad.org.

Comments (1)

user motherofthecs says...

Id first like to comment on the importance of this article...I serioulsy hope everyone reading this takes heed and takes proper precautions while also enjoying the beautiful outdoors...and I also want to thank and compliment this writer...SHE IS ONE AMAZING WOMAN...I KNOW THIS FOR SURE CAUSE IM HER MOTHER!!!

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