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Healthy Living: Always Wear Sunscreen


Always Wear SunscreenDo you remember the famous words often (and erroneously) attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, but in actuality penned by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich to be used as a potential commencement speech?

The speech/column begins:

“Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.”

Well, she wasn’t kidding, folks.

Sunscreen can protect your skin from getting dull, wrinkled and leathery, and more importantly, it can help protect you from skin cancer.

I wish I’d known when I was 17 that slathering myself with baby oil wasn’t a good idea. Age and sun spots are real. Luckily, no skin cancer for me, but recently a young (as in early 20s) neighbor was diagnosed with several spots on her shoulders and back. Scary stuff.

WebMD offers these tips for using sunscreen, which you can find in all levels of protection at your local Brookshire’s store.

  1. Wear sunscreen every day in all weather and in every season. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and say “broad-spectrum” on the label, which means it protects against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Put it on at least 15 minutes before going outside. Use 1 ounce, which would fill a shot glass.
  2. Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours or more often, if you’re sweating or swimming.
  3. Wear sunglasses with total UV protection.
  4. Wear wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  5. Avoid being out in the sun as much as possible from 10am to 2pm.
  6. Check your skin regularly so you know what’s normal for you, and to notice any skin changes or new growths.
  7. Choose cosmetics and contact lenses that offer UV protection. You still need to use sunscreen and wear sunglasses with broad-spectrum sun protection.
  8. If you’re a parent, protect your child’s skin and practice these habits together.
  9. Don’t use tanning beds.
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