6 Ways to Protect Yourself from UV Dangers

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Dr. Sinatra

It’s getting to be that time of year when we’re all spending more time outside—which leaves us with a new issue to think about, sun exposure.  In the attached picture, I wanted to show you the “fishing look” that I have been sporting since I had dermatology procedures on my  face in November, 2010.  

You see, my fair Irish mom had skin cancer:  basal and squamous cell carcinoma when she was in her sixties that required extensive surgery.  Later in life, mom also developed bowel cancer. So, with that family history and my own fair Irish skin, I’ve known that I’m quite vulnerable to skin cancers. I’ve been quite the “sun-phobe” for many years, covering up almost completely whenever I’m in the sun for more than a few minutes.

I follow the advice that I’ve been giving others to the letter, and beyond sometimes.  I was the “king of sun block,” until I found out last year that there is no safe sun block . I’ve always donned hats, long pants, long sleeves, and big sunglasses. Trust me. On beach vacations it can be downright embarrassing to be seen with, barely a shred of skin uncovered.  Though some might think me “overboard”… ends up, I wasn’t!   

Imagine the shock I felt in fall of 2011 when I learned that those innocent-looking little spots on my face were squamous cell lesions, despite all my prevention.

So, what should you do to protect your skin, especially your vulnerable face?

  • Visit a dermatologist regularly, and have him or her visually scan your whole body.  If you have a history of skin cancer, discuss it with your dermatologist.

  • Avoid suntan lotions, sun blocks,  and sunscreens:  their nano-sized chemicals can act like xeno-estrogens, alter DNA, and even cause cancer.

  • Take a tip from the lifeguards—use zinc oxide on your protrusions: your lips, nose, and the vulnerable tops of your ears.

  •  Wear a hat on those sunny strolls; protect your arms and shoulders, especially if you are fair-skinned.

  • Do yard work in early morning or evening hours when the sun is weaker.

  •  Worship the shade instead of the sun when relaxing outdoors.

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