IT’S NOT OVER YETBy Susan Freeman
Just because September marks the end of summer doesn’t mean that the dangers of sun exposure are over. We should really be using sunscreen year round. The sun’s UVA rays are present all day long, 365 days a year, which is why we should use daily sunscreen that has a minimum sun protection factor of 30.
There are many sites, including ConsumerReports.org, which give you comparisons between sunscreens. We won’t go into specific products here. However, the higher the SPF number does not necessarily mean you’re getting better protection, which is why you need to do some research.
Are sprays better than creams, what are the main ingredients, how often do you need to reapply (which is REALLY important)? You can find a wealth of information online before making your purchase. Don’t buy a sunscreen just because it’s on sale! In this case saving money may not be wise.
Basal cell carcinomas, the least virulent and risky of skin cancers, are particularly common in people over 50. They can appear where the skin has been most exposed to the sun. However, they’re not always obvious to the untrained eye – especially, if you have freckles or age spots - as they come in various shapes, types and sizes. Any part of the body that is not usually covered by clothing needs to be protected. Thus, an annual skin check with your dermatologist becomes more important as we age.
Basal cells are particularly common on ears, lips, top of the feet and hands, and backs of the knees - areas of the body to which we often do not apply sunscreen.
You should also be wearing a hat and sunglasses, two additional ways to protect yourself from UVA rays. There are many hats and sunglasses available with UVA protection. They should be part of your regular summer wardrobe.
Many facial moisturizers now also contain SPF protection, and one of these should be in your arsenal of beauty products. Skin is the largest, most vulnerable organ of the body. Its unique function provides protection from the environment, so it’s important to take good care of it. It’s like a coat for the body, which needs to be pampered, protected and paid attention to.