The skin, your body's largest organ, protects you against heat, light, injury, and infection. A suntan is not a sign of health - it can lead to skin damage, and eventually, premature again, wrinkling or skin cancer. Skin cancer can be prevented and it is never too late to start taking better care of your skin!
Steps You Can Take
- Check your skin often, ideally after a shower or bath, for any changes in moles or birthmarks or for precancerous skin lesions that look dry, scaly, reddish, and slightly raised. Report any changes immediately to your health care provider. You can also get a yearly skin and mole exam from a health care provider.
- Do not use sunlamps, tanning beds, and tanning pills. None of these are safe. You can use tanning make-up products safely, but remember they are not sunscreens and will not protect your skin from the sun.
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that guards against both UVA and UVB rays, with a sun protection factor.
- Stay out of the sun, especially between 10am and 3pm when the sun's harmful rays are strongest. Don't think you are safe if it is cloudy or if you are in the water, harmful rays pass through both.
- Wear protective clothing like a wide-brimmed hat and loose, lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants or long skirts when in the sun. Select sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of the sun's rays.
The above information has been provided with the kind permission of the National Women's Health Information Center (www.4woman.gov).