Take Action: Cover Up

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, you may be planning a full three days of being outdoors—basking in the sun; at the beach; at a barbeque or at the park. Since you will be out in the bright and shiny sun’s rays, you will want to take these simple steps to help prevent skin cancer.

Cover up with long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses.

Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants or a long skirt. Clothes made from tightly woven fabrics are best.

Wear a hat. A hat with a wide brim that protects your face and neck works best. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. If you wear a baseball cap or visor, be sure to protect your ears and the back of your neck with sunscreen.

Wear sunglasses that block UV light. This will help protect your eyes and the skin around them from sun damage. Wrap-around sunglasses are best, because they block UV rays from the side.

Stay in the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The sun’s rays are the strongest from mid-morning to late afternoon. Try to stay out of the sun during these hours. If you are outside, stay in the shade – like under a tree or umbrella.

Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 or higher. Use sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection, also called broad spectrum sunscreen. My dermatologist recommends using a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad spectrum coverage. My favorite sunscreen that meets all of those requirements is Sun Shades Sport. Sun Shades Sport’s principal ingredient is Avobenzone. Avobenzone gives my skin a highly effective broad spectrum protection. The photostablized avobenzone maintains its UVA protective power even during long periods of sun exposure. I especially like that I can spray it on and it sticks!

One thing you always need to do is check the expiration date on the bottle to make sure it’s not out of date—especially if you found a bottle from last summer.

To get the most protection:

  • Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. UV rays can still harm your skin through the clouds.
  • Plan ahead – put sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go outside. Put on more sunscreen every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.
  • Be sure to use enough sunscreen (a handful). Don’t forget to apply it to your ears, hands, feet, the back of your neck, and any part of your scalp that isn’t covered by hair.
  • Use lip balm with sunscreen to protect your lips.
  • If you wear very lightweight clothing (like a beach cover-up or thin T-shirt), put sunscreen on under your clothes.


It’s May everyone! May marks the beginning of summer and is also skin cancer awareness month with the first Monday being Melanoma Monday.

Melanoma Monday – a day to promote awareness of the most serious form of skin cancer is brought to us by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, and it is the deadliest of skin cancers. There will be many events focused on skin health, sun safety, tanning prevention, and skin cancer screenings and resources.

“Check Your Partner. Check Yourself”e encourages folks to check both their partners and themselves for signs of skin cancer. In fact, the campaign strongly targets women because research has shown that women are nine times more likely than men to notice melanoma on others.

When detected early, skin cancer – including melanoma – is highly treatable. According to the AAD the five-year survival rate for melanoma when detected and treated in its early stages is 98%.

All are asked to join the American Academy of Dermatology in wearing orange and encouraging others to wear orange for skin cancer awareness.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. There are three major types of skin cancer: Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are also called non-melanoma skin cancer, and they are more common than melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.

Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your skin regularly for new growths (like moles or lumps) or changes in old growths. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you find a change.

May is National Skin Cancer Month

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps.

UV damage can also cause wrinkles and blotches or spots on your skin. The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented, and it can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early.

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun and other sources of ultraviolet (UV) rays.

To protect your skin:

  • Stay in the shade as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Put on sunscreen every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.
  • Cover up with long sleeves, long pants or a skirt, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Avoid indoor tanning.
  • Check your skin for changes regularly.

Why do I need to protect my skin?

Protecting your skin today may help prevent skin cancer later in life. Most skin cancer appears after age 50, but skin damage from the sun can start during childhood.

Taking steps to prevent skin cancer may also help prevent:

  • Wrinkles
  • Blotches or spots on your skin
  • Other damage to your skin and eyes

During the month of May, join us in taking action to prevent skin cancer and reduce the risk of UV damage. It’s never too late to start protecting it!

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