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Seven Steps to Save Your Skin 

Summers in Delaware offer endless opportunities to be outdoors — from beaches, state parks, playgrounds, and festivals to craft fairs, outdoor concerts, campsites, and more. Being outside offers many health benefits too, like increasing physical activity, getting vitamin D, and even reducing anxiety and stress. 

But as you take advantage of all this fun in the sun, be sure to protect yourself and your family members from too much sun exposure. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation damages your skin’s top layer. It increases your chances of developing skin cancer — the most common form of cancer in the United States. 

Types of Skin Cancer 

  • Basal cell carcinoma: The most common type of skin cancer. It’s usually found on the head, neck, and arms; however, it can form anywhere on the body, including the chest, abdomen, and legs. It usually grows slowly and is most curable when caught and treated early. 
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: Tends to form on skin that gets frequent sun exposure, such as the rim of the ear, face, neck, arms, chest, and back. When caught early, treatment is highly successful. 
  • Melanoma: While less common, it is the most serious type of skin cancer, because of its tendency to spread quickly to other parts of the body, including vital organs, if not caught early. 

Protecting Your Skin – Seven Simple Steps 

We may spend more time outside during the summer, but being outside at any time of the year can increase your skin cancer risk if you don’t take proper precautions. Follow these tips to be sun safe during the summer and all year long: 

  1. Limit your time in the sun. Stay indoors or seek shade when the UV rays are most dangerous, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
  2. Use a water-resistant sunscreen. Make sure it has UVA and UVB protection as well as a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher. Apply it liberally and reapply every two to three hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating. 
  3. Wear a hat. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover your head, face, neck, and ears. 
  4. Wear sunglasses. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block 99% or more of UV light. 
  5. Wear protective clothing. Wear clothing such as long-sleeve shirts and pants. You can also look for clothing that has a UV protection factor or is made of a tightly woven fabric. 
  6. Wear lip balm and makeup products that have an SPF of 30 or higher. 
  7. Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. These produce UVA and UVB rays just like the sun and are the leading cause of skin cancer — including malignant melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Tanning beds increase your risk of getting melanoma before age 35 by 75%. 

The ABCs of Checking Your Skin 

Everyone should check their skin regularly, from head to toe, looking for any unusual changes. Look for moles that are different from others, sores that do not heal, new skin growths, and moles with one or more of the “ABCDE” characteristics.  

  • Asymmetry — If an imaginary line is drawn through the mole, the halves do not match 
  • Border — Irregular, uneven borders 
  • Color — Moles that have several colors or become lighter or darker 
  • Diameter — Moles larger than the size of a pencil eraser 
  • Evolving — Moles that itch or bleed, shrink or grow, change color, or have portions that are elevated; or a new growth on the skin 

Annual exams to the dermatologist are recommended, but you should see a dermatologist immediately if you have any warning signs. 

With the right sun-smart protection, you can have fun outdoors this summer — and throughout the year! For more skin cancer prevention tips, visit