Skiing or Sunbathing—Beware of the Sun

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) — Given that one out of every five Americans will get skin cancer at some point in their lives, and the disease will kill more than 12,000 people in the United States this year alone, skin cancers are more prevalent than ever, reports the American Academy of Dermatologists. It estimates that about 90 percent of the time, the risk of developing skin cancer is directly related to the amount and intensity of the ultraviolet (UV) light exposure one receives from the sun.

Whether you are in ski country high up in the mountains getting rays or hanging in warmer regions, fortunately, it is easy to limit excessive UV exposure and lower the risk of skin cancer with the regular use of sun protection. Of course, wear a hat, sit under an umbrella and limit time sunbathing. Sunscreen is an important part of the equation, but what kind and how much should one use?

For starters, the kind of sunscreen used might vary, depending on the kind of outdoor exposure that is expected. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), for incidental sun exposure—when someone is outside only for minutes at a time—a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, which filters out about 93 percent of UV radiation, is usually sufficient. A lot also depends on age and skin type. Here are some specific considerations to keep in mind, provided by the SCF:

  • For children’s skin: The physical sunscreens zinc oxide and titanium dioxide tend to be better tolerated by people with younger skin and can usually be found in sunscreens for babies and children. Also, since getting children to use sunscreen is half the battle, try spray sunscreens or tubes with colorful packaging, which children might find more enjoyable to use.
  • For allergy-, acne- and rosacea-prone skin: Again, the ingredients least likely to cause skin reactions are the physical sunscreens as well as those made with salicylates and ecamsule. Allergy-prone and rosacea patients should also avoid sunscreens containing alcohol. Patients with acne and rosacea, however, might find gel formulas, which usually contain alcohol, more drying and less likely to aggravate these conditions.
  • For dry skin: People with dry skin typically benefit from sunscreens that contain moisturizers such as lanolin, oils and silicones such as dimethicone. Older individuals and those with fairer skin should also use sunscreen and carefully monitor their time in the sun, although none of this is an absolute guarantee of protection.

The proper use of sunscreen, whether cream or fabric, is extremely important to reduce the risk of skin cancer, which remains one of the most widespread forms of cancer.

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