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Saturday, March 30, 2013

FIVE Reasons to Play It Safe in the Sun

Summer is coming and people will be heading to the beaches and back yards to soak up the sun. The sun is a good source of vitamin D. But it can also be dangerous. Consider the risks first and take precautions before spending too much time in the sun.

Avoid sunburn - start slowly to avoid burning the skin. A sunburn is actually UV (ultraviolet) radiation burning the epidermis, or outside layer of the skin. The skin is an organ, so this should not be taken lightly. Sunburns also increase the chance of getting melanoma, or skin cancer.

Premature aging - over tanning results in wrinkles, dark spots and a leathery appearance to the skin. This is because exposure to UV rays breaks down the natural collagen in the skin. Collagen is important because it helps keep skin firm, supple and works to constantly renew skin cells. It is very important for skin elasticity.

Skin cancer - there is really no such thing as safe tanning. Most of the more than one million skin cancers diagnosed each year in the U.S. are considered sun-related, according to the American Cancer Society. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, causing most of the deaths due to skin cancer each year. UV radiation from the skin damages the DNA in skin cells and also weakens the body's immune system and ability to fight off cancer cells.

Eye damage - exposure to the sun can increase the risk of cataracts. It can also burn the cornea and lead to other eye damage such as cancer around the eye and macular degeneration that destroys sharp vision.

Immune system - UV exposure can weaken the body's immune system, compromising its ability to fight off viruses and other diseases.

How to protect yourself:
The only way to protect yourself 100 percent is to avoid exposure to the sun. However, you can decrease the risks by using Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or above, wear sunglasses to protect the eyes, avoid sunburn, and watch for any signs of skin cancer such as changes in moles or birthmarks and immediately seek medical attention.

DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.