Ahhh… fun in the sun with friends!! Observe “Don’t Fry Day” May 28 – and everyday – by protecting your skin from diseases like melanoma with adequate sunscreen protection.
This weekend marks the (semi-) official start of the summer season, as the Memorial Day Weekend is upon us. It’s when many of us start getting out of town; when we’re invited to the season’s first barbecues and outdoor parties; when we can’t wait to get out onto the nearest golf course. And with all this outdoor fun planned, now is a GREAT time to make yourself aware of how to protect your skin!
Friday, May 28th is “Don’t Fry Day”, one set aside by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention to encourage us all to protect our skin on Memorial Day Weekend–and way beyond. Last year, the Council launched a “Slap on a Hat” campaign to get people to cover up and wear protective clothing and head coverings when out in the sun. But this year, “Don’t Fry Day” is designed to get us to pay attention to all the steps we can take to keep ourselves safe when we’re having fun in the sun.
Did you know that skin cancer cases are on the rise in the United States – or that the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from this form of the disease? As terrible as this statistic sounds, many forms of melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer – can likely be prevented by actively protecting your body’s skin from overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. And while some sun is a GOOD and healthy thing (see the post I wrote on Vitamin D and how the sun helps the body naturally generate it), too much DEFINITELY is not.
Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of this terrible disease. And believe it or not, people of color and those with darker skins get it, too (not just something that happens to fair-skinned blonds). Fortunately, it’s also highly treatable and curable if it’s caught early.
So before you head outdoors next time, remember these helpful tips, shared with me by Nikka Gryte, our new clinical director at the Tiffani Kim Institute Medical Wellness Spa – and actually use them:
Get religious about sunscreen use. Maybe you won’t be out long, or it’s a cloudy day. You still get sun exposure. Be sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and be sure to reapply it every two hours if you’re out in the sun. As Nikka says, “An ounce goes a long way.” (And don’t forget your ears!)
Cover up when you’re out. That means wearing sun-protective clothing, such as wide wrap-around sunglasses and hats (with wide brims, or even baseball-style versions) when you’re out and about.
Avoid the sun when it’s hottest. That means staying away from its penetrating rays between 10AM and 2PM, when they’re typically at their strongest.
Keep an eye on your skin. If you start noticing new or irregularly shaped moles, alert your dermatologist, skin care professional or doctor. And don’t just examine your face – Nikka suggests using a hand mirror to check yourself out from head to toe (even on your scalp and feet!). Better to have them removed and checked out early, before potential problems develop.
Stay away from tanning beds. Remember when people thought it was safer to use these than fry in the sun? Since they ALSO – like the sun – expose you to potentially harmful and intense UV radiation, you’re better off with a good self-tanning product instead.
Through the end of May, the Tiffani Kim Institute is offering complimentary, head-to-toe skin cancer screenings. So don’t wait – you’ve only got a few more days. And regardless of the calendar’s date, do your skin a favor and protect it!