A summer begins, protecting your skin is key

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Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014 4:50 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- If you think that an occasional sunburn can't hurt, a new study suggests otherwise. Researchers at Brown University found that people with as few as five sunburns early in their lives raised the risk of later skin cancer by 80% -- and this includes the deadliest type: malignant melanoma.

But you can take steps to protect your skin.

With Skin Cancer Awareness Month wrapping up and the start of summer just kicking off, it's important to know how to protect yourself in the sun and break down some of the myths regarding sunscreen and how you can get skin cancer.

"I've had a couple of bumps like on my nose that I've been concerned about, so I always make sure I always put the Coppertone 50," says vacationer Ryan Dean.

Whether it be the lowest level -- basal cell carcinoma -- to the most dangerous -- malignant melanoma -- experts say prevention starts at an early age. "Sun exposure is cumulative. We bank sun exposure, almost like a bank account. What you're doing in your teenage years, your 20's your 30's, is you’re banking the damage and then when you get older it comes out," says dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth F. Callahan.

One beachgoer understands that all too well. As a teen, she thought she was invincible when it came to tanning. "I spent 6 years of my life going tanning every day, and I haven't tanned in 6 years. I refuse to go to a tanning bed. I know the damage has already been done," says Casey Dean.

Dermatologists say you should check yourself monthly for signs of skin cancer; just follow the A-B-C-D-E's.

"You want to look for asymmetry; one half not equal in the other. You want to look for irregular borders; that's what B stands for. 'C' for irregular colors; white and black. 'D' for diameter; something getting bigger. And the final one really, 'E'; you want to think about that -- something that's evolving. You had a very small spot, but every month it gets bigger and it gets more irregular," says Dr. Callahan.

Application is key; if not applied correctly, even an SPF of 50 could be ineffective. "The biggest mistake I see is that people don't put enough on. They trust the SPF number."

Vacationers tell ABC 7 they've learned the hard way from other family members who had skin cancer. "Because my mom had skin cancer and I don't want to get it," says Debra Becker.

As you make your way to the beach or the pool this summer, or even going outside for just a short amount of time, dermatologists say to apply at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and re-apply every 2 hours.

Dermatologist ABC 7 spoke to recommend sunscreens that are more mineral based, with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide; at least a 30 SPF with UVA & UVB protection.

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  • triffids posted at 11:12 am on Sat, May 31, 2014.

    triffids Posts: 2

    Why women who DON'T sunbathe are TWICE as likely to die early than women who do.
    Ultraviolet radiation from the sun thought to be the cause of skin melanomas.
    But Swedish researchers have found that women who avoid sunshine are twice as likely to die from any cause - including cancer.
    Study asked 29,518 Swedish women to monitor their sunbathing habits.
    It goes against everything we've been told about sun worshiping.
    But a new study has shown that women who avoid sunbathing during the summer are twice as likely to die than those who sunbathe everyday.
    Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden claim guidelines which advise people to stay out of the sun unless wearing sun lotion may be harming us, rather than helping us.
    Could sunbathing be good for us? Researchers say guidelines advising us to stay out of the sun may be harmful.
    Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight is often cited as a cause of skin melanoma and the NHS recommends avoiding overexposure to the sun to prevent all types of skin cancer.
    But after following nearly 30,000 women over 20 years, the new research found that women who stay out of the sun are at increased risk of skin melanomas and are twice as likely to die from any cause, including cancer.
    The study's lead author, Dr Pelle Lindqvist, said: 'The results of this study clearly showed that mortality was about double in women who avoided sun exposure compared to the highest exposure group.
    Sun exposure advice which is very restrictive in countries with low solar intensity might in fact be harmful for women’s health.
    Essential: Our bodies need vitamin D, created through exposure to sunlight, to reduce the risk of illness
    The mortality rate was increased two-fold among avoiders of sun exposure as compared to those with the highest sun exposure habits.'
    A lack of vitamin D, which is created through exposure to the sun, is thought to be to blame, as it is known to increase the risk of diabetes, rickets, tuberculosis and multiple sclerosis.
    Prof Dorothy Bennett, Professor of Cell Biology at St George's, University of London, said: 'The findings support the consensus that the ideal amount of sun exposure for Northern Europeans is ‘a little’, rather than zero.
    As the authors comment, our bodies need sunlight to make essential vitamin D, which can help us resist some cancer types.
    Those who normally avoid the sun and/or cover most of their skin are advised to take vitamin D supplements.'

    The research was published in The Journal of Internal Medicine.

  • triffids posted at 9:43 pm on Fri, May 30, 2014.

    triffids Posts: 2

    A new 30 year study of 20,000 women out of Sweden says we are causing more harm than good by avoiding the sun, after all UVR, oxygen and water are the foundation of life on this planet, why would you avoid one of them?
    You can not get the full benefits of vitamin D (a steroidal hormone)from supplements, would you take a multi vitamin but avoid nutritious foods? Moderation is the key.


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