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Protect & Nurture Your Skin This Summer!

By Kristy Warren

 

For many of us, warmer weather means fun in the sun: hiking, biking, gardening, kayaking, camping, grilling, and swimming. Spending time outdoors is a great way to stay active and absorb some Vitamin D, but whether you're walking the trail or exploring your own backyard, take a moment to protect and nurture your skin.

Angela Dixon Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner at Mansfield Laurel Health Center

Skin is the largest organ in our body, and skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Sun exposure is a key risk factor in developing it.

  

Angela Dixon, a certified registered nurse practitioner with the Mansfield Laurel Health Center, sat down with the Homepage Network team to share how we can best protect our skin while enjoying our summer and when to talk to your doctor about a change in your skin. 

 

As Ben Franklin wisely put it, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

SUN SAFETY TIPS

 

The best way to avoid skin cancer is to take steps to prevent it, including using protective measures to avoid excessive sun exposure. Cut down on your skin cancer risks by proactively protecting your skin with these simple tips:

 

  • Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect yourself from both UVA and UVB sun waves.

  • Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.

  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating excessively. No sunscreen is waterproof, and even water-resistant sunscreens wear off after approx. 1 to 1½ hours.

  • Avoid the sun during its peak intensity, typically 10 am – 3 pm.

  • Even if you aren’t planning to be out in the sun, try using a moisturizer, primer, or makeup with at least SPF 15+ for everyday protection.

  • Wear a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and breathable, lightweight clothing; long sleeves and pants provide extra protection. When reading labels, UPF refers to a fabric’s sun-blocking ability. If you’ll be in a public place and aren't fully vaccinated, please remember to wear a cloth face mask to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19. Your mask helps protect your community and your skin!

 

BUT WHAT ABOUT...

 

  • Sensitive skin? Try using a sunscreen with zinc or titanium oxide, which are tolerated well even by easily irritated skin.

  • Your tan? Get that glow without the risk. Skip tanning beds and intentional sunning. Use a tinted moisturizer, foundation, lotion, or bronzer to give your skin a tan glow without the harmful rays and lasting skin damage.

  • A change in your skin? Don’t wait, talk to your health provider about any changes in your skin lasting longer than two weeks.

 

SPOTTING SKIN CANCER

 

There are roughly one million new cases of skin cancer every yearThe three main types of skin cancer are:

  • Basal cell carcinoma (pearly, dome-shaped bumps)

  • Squamous cell carcinoma (rough, tender, red bumps)

  • Melanoma (atypical or changing moles)

 

The most common warning sign for any skin cancer is a change in the appearance of a skin lesion or mole, such as changes in:

  • Asymmetry

  • Border

  • Color or texture

  • Diameter

  • Elevation 
Know the ABCDEs of Skin Changes - Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Elevation

WHEN TO CALL YOUR PROVIDER

 

Skin lesions / changes lasting more than two weeks and any change moles' appearance, including bleeding, persistent itching, or crusting, should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. The Laurel Health Centers are here to help you identify and manage any changes in your skin. 

 

If you have any questions or concerns about your skin, call the Laurel Health Centers today at 1-833-LAURELHC (1-833-528-7354) and select the location of your choice.

 

To make an appointment with Angela Dixon, CRNP at our Mansfield LHC, call 570-662-2002.

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