More and more men are using sun protection while they work and play outdoors. They know that skin cancer is a threat, but it's a threat they can do something about. By protecting your skin from the sun, you may lower your chance of getting skin cancer.Why is the sun bad for my skin?The sun's rays, also called ultraviolet or UV rays, damage the skin. The short-term results of unprotected exposure to UV rays are sunburn and tanning. In the long run, unprotected exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer.
What should I do to protect my skin from the sun?Follow these "safe-sun" guidelines whenever you are in the sun:
Stay out of the sun, if you can, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest. If you have to be out in the sun, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants to protect your skin. Wear shirts made from tightly woven cloth, like long-sleeved cotton t-shirts. If the clothing fits loosely, you will feel cooler. Special sun-protective clothes are available from several companies, such as Solumbra Sun Precautions (telephone: 800-882-7860; Web site: http://www.solumbra.com/). Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun. Sun exposure increases your risk of getting cataracts. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to help protect your face, neck and ears from the sun. The best hat to wear in the sun has a brim that's at least 6 inches all around. Baseball caps and similar hats don't protect your ears and neck.
What else can I do to protect my skin? It's a good idea to do a monthly skin check. Ask your doctor about this. New Customers: $10 off your first order of $99 or more with promo code 6108 at ShopNBC! If your doctor thinks it's a good idea for you, pick a certain day each month, like the date of your birthday or the day you pay bills, to check your skin. A monthly skin check can help you find skin cancer early. The earlier skin cancer is found, the better the chance for a cure.
The "ABCDE" rule can help you look for signs of skin cancer. When you look at moles on your skin, look for the following:
A for asymmetry: A mole that, when divided in half, doesn't look the same on both sides
B for border: A mole with edges that are blurry or jagged
C for color: Changes in the color of a mole, including darkening, spread of color, loss of color, or the appearance of multiple colors such as blue, red, white, pink, purple or gray
D for diameter: A mole larger than 1/4 inch in diameter (about the size of a pencil eraser)
E for elevation: A mole that is raised above the skin and has a rough surface
You should also watch for the following changes:A mole that bleeds A mole that grows fast A scaly or crusted growth on the skin A sore that won't heal A mole that itches A place on your skin that feels rough, like sandpaper If your doctor tells you to do skin checks, be sure to check your whole body once each month, including your back, your scalp and the bottom of your feet.