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Healthy Living: Sunscreen


This blog is going to be a little bit like preaching to the choir, because I know ALL of you wear sunscreen on a regular basis.

Right? Don’t you? Oh yes, me too.

That’s why I spent Saturday night slathered with aloe under cool compresses of wet washcloths.

Yes, I’m blushing, but you can’t tell underneath my sunburn.

I know better than to skimp on sunscreen. I know you should apply about 2 TBS all over your body every two hours out in the hot sunshine. I know to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside and I know to reapply more often if I’m swimming. I know not to neglect my lips, which can suffer from skin cancer as well.

But for whatever reason Saturday, I forgot. Or wasn’t diligent. My boys stayed sunburn-free, thankfully. I slather them up to such excess they can still scrape a layer of sunscreen off their skin days later. But they never get sunburned, so that’s OK with me. I’m going to blame the exhilaration of spending the day at the lake for my negligence. Let’s see if that excuse holds up when I’m having skin cancer removed from my shoulder in the future.

Let’s start with some facts about skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.  More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.
  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
  • About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

Now what do we do about all that?

WEAR SUNSCREEN! WEAR SUNSCREEN! WEAR SUNSCREEN!

Brookshire’s sells sunscreens from SPF 4 to SPF 70 in all forms – lotions, gels, sprays, sticks (great for faces because they don’t drip and run into the eyes). Sunscreen comes in so many handy forms (non-allergenic, non-scented, coconut scented, sport, baby, face-only) that there’s no excuse for not using it. We SHOULD use sunscreen every day, all year long. Don’t think you can get away with skipping sunscreen on an overcast day; clouds don’t block ultraviolet rays.

To protect yourself from sunburn, early skin aging and skin cancer, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a sunscreen that offers:

  • Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays).
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or greater.
  • Water resistance

Also do as I say, not as I DID (I won’t be making that mistake again). Apply liberally, at least every two hours. Use about two ounces a time. Apply BEFORE going outside. If you don’t have someone to help you cover those hard-to-reach spots, use a spray. Don’t forget a lip product that contains a broad spectrum SPF. If at all possible, wear protective clothing – hats with a broad brim, sunglasses, lightweight clothing that covers. Don’t miss your ears or the tops of your feet (yep, guilty of that as well).

But if you DO miss a spot, Brookshire’s sells aloe vera gel that is just heavenly applied straight out of the refrigerator!

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Posted in: Healthy Living

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