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After our harsh winter, it is hard to believe – but I think warm sunny weather has finally arrived. If your family is anything like our family, summers are busier than the school year. My daughter will be taking five animals to fair this year. Therefore, over the next several months she will be spending some time outside breaking her animals. My daughter gets tired of me reminding her to apply sunscreen every two hours. I try to limit her time in the sun to only in the evenings and encourage her to wear long sleeve shirts. I do these things so that she is safer from sun damage.

Do the sunny days make you wonder about skin cancer or sun damage? Here are some stats about skin cancer:

  • Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States.
  • There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma.
  • Early detection is the key in diagnosing and treating skin cancer.

This graphic helps you see the ABCD’s of Melanoma:

Look at your moles for any of these irregularities:

A – Asymmetrical – irregular or unbalanced

B – Border – irregular border

C – Color – color variation

D – Diameter – is the diameter bigger than a pencil eraser?

S – Sensation

Remember if you notice any of these irregularities, be on the safe side and contact your health professional.

If you must be out in the sun, what can you do to protect your skin?

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing and a hat (long sleeves offer some protection).
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with 30 spf (sun protection factor).
  • Watch for drug interactions with the sun because some drugs make you more prone to sunburn.
  • Be careful on cloudy days – even if it is cloudy, you can still get sun damage.
  • Avoid indoor tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Do not burn.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Reapply every 2 hours, immediately after swimming, or excessive sweating.

Remember to check your skin regularly for changes. Visit your health care professional or dermatologist to get any suspicious mole or skin blemish checked out.

Still curious and want more info?

What can you do to stay Sun Safe? Share your ideas in our comment section. 

 References:

Take Steps to Prevent Skin Cancer

https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/parenting/safety/steps-to-prevent-skin-cancer

Sun’s Up – Cover Up: Sun Safety Skin Cancer Prevention PowerPoint, OSU Sun Safety Team, 2012

 

Written by: Brenda Sandman-Stover, Extension Program Assistant, 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County, sandman-stover.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

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Have you started wearing your shorts? Are you white legs showing? We are happy to have the warmer temperatures but having very pale legs can make some people feel self-conscious. We know we should not use tanning bedsSunless Tanner but how about the sunless tanning products?

Sunless tanning products are recommended by the American Academy of Dermatologists. But are they safe? The most common ingredient in sunless tanning lotions is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This is a color additive approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for external application on the skin. DHA has not been approved to be applied to areas near the eyes, nose and mouth, so avoid these areas when applying. DHA comes from sugar and when it is rubbed on the skin it produces a golden brown color. The reaction is much like a peach turning brown when exposed to the air. The color usually fades in 7-10 days.

No clear evidence has appeared indicating DHA is harmful as long as it is applied externally as directed on the container. Self-tanning sprays carry some concerns to risk of inhalation and ingestion of which neither is recommended. If using spray tanning products you should wear protective gear for your eyes, nose and mouth protecting the mucous membranes.

Shopping for a sunless tanner
Look for products containing dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as an active ingredient. Most preparations contain 3-5 percent DHA. Avoid products that do not contain DHA as they may be a tan accelerator or contain skin irritants. Self tanning products are available in lotions, creams, sprays, and towels or wipes.

Applying sunless tanners
To achieve even coverage from your sunless tanner follow these steps:
1. Exfoliate. Using an exfoliating soap or rub will help remove dead skin cells, especially rub ankles, knees and elbows.
2. Make sure skin is dried off before you start to apply the sunless tanners.
3. Apply to your body in sections. Apply to your legs, then your arms and then torso. Apply in a circular motion to achieve uniform color. Lightly apply to areas from the ankles to the feet and wrists to the hands. You should not apply tanner on your soles of your feet or the palms of your hands. Wash and dry your hands after applying to each section of your body.
4. Dilute sunless tanner on joints. Your knees, ankles and elbows tend to absorb more tanning solution, so lightly rub these areas with a damp cloth or apply some moisturizing lotion.
5. Allow at least 10 minutes to dry before you get dressed. Wearing loose clothing and avoiding sweating for the next three hours will help you have better results.

The American Academy of Dermatology has a YouTube video on applying sunless tanners check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqpGvQwTaao

Sunless tanners do not protect you from Ultraviolet light, so apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of at least at 30, before you go out in the sun.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fairfield County, Heart of Ohio EERA

References:
American Academy of Dermatology, [2012]. Dermatologists give young adults something to tweet about: tanning is out, American Academy of Dermatology. Available at http://www.aad.org/stories-and-news/news-releases/dermatologists-give-young-adults-something-to-tweet-about-tanning-s-out
Bank, D. [2014]. Ask the expert: Can sunless tanners cause cancer? Skin Cancer Foundation. Available at http://www.skincancer.org/news/tanning/study-finds-sunless-tanning-deters-uv-tanning
Mayo Clinic Staff, [2013]. Sunless tanning is a practical alternative to sunbathing. Find out how sunless tanning products work, including possible risks and how to get the best results. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/sunless-tanning/art-20046803
Palm, M., [2014]. Ask the expert: Are self-tanners safe? Skin Cancer Foundation. Available at http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/ask-the-experts/can-sunless-tanners-cause-cancer
Skin Cancer Foundation, [2014]. Study finds sunless tanning temporality deters UV tanning. Skin Cancer Foundation. Available at http://www.skincancer.org/news/tanning/study-finds-sunless-tanning-deters-uv-tanning

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