Skin Protection

By Claire Brady, RN

The long New England winter surely prompts us to adopt a tanned look. Research, however, shows a link between sunburn, both in childhood and in adults, with an increased risk of skin cancer and the more life-threatening melanoma.

For some reason people equate being tanned with a healthy look. This could not be further from the truth. Some important points to consider:

  1. The best way to prevent sun burn and subsequently skin cancer is to avoid sun from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Its rays are strongest then.
  2. Use of a sun with a SPF (Sun protection Factor) of 15. Apply to all exposed skin surfaces 15-30 minutes before going into the sun. Remember to reapply after swimming.
  3. Cover up, wear a hat, a light-colored, long-sleeve shirt and pants and keep your neck covered as well.

Some further points to consider:

  1. The sun's rays can penetrate through water up to three feet. You may feel both cool and protected while in the water but still can be burned.
  2. Winter sun can also burn. Snow reflects sunlight so caution is wise while enjoying winter sports.
  3. Avoid sun lamps, tanning beds, and tanning pills. They are just as harmful to your body.
  4. Blonds, red heads, and fair-skinned people are most often affected by sun exposure. However, anyone who spends a great deal of time in the sun is at risk for contracting skin cancer.

Most of all skin cancers occur on parts of the body not covered by clothing. Remember when protecting yourself and family members from the sun, you are decreasing your risk of being a victim of skin cancer.

For more information, or for ideas about how you can educate your employees about the dangers of over exposure, call 603-352-5595.