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    Reduce The Risk Of Sun Exposure

    Sun Exposure Map

    I remember as a kid it was normal to play outside hours on end – riding bikes, playing with the neighbors; it was all about playing outside without the fear of sun exposure. The truth is today’s sun exposure can put us at higher risk of age spots, early wrinkling, cellular damage, actinic keratoses and skin cancer. The most serious type of skin cancer is melanoma. Anytime you go outdoors for an excessive amount of time you should always throw on a layer of sunscreen – SPF 30 or higher.

    While most of us have experienced sunburns, it’s important not to underestimate the effects of even the mildest of sunburns. Most sun burns are 1st degree and usually take up to a week to fully heal. This can be your burn from last week’s fishing trip or a group hike. These burns are 1st degree which means only the outer layer of skin was affected. Pain relievers, cold compresses and moisturizing creams can be used to help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with these types of burns.

    Damaged skin layers and nerve endings are the work of 2nd degree burns. These burns are much more painful and typically take longer to heal. Often times you will see redness, swelling and even blistering which works as a human Band-Aid. Don’t pop or remove blisters as they contain that source of moisture to help heal the burn. Breaking blisters can lead to worse problems including infections. It’s best to consult your doctor if your burn leads to blistering.

    Keep Your Kids Covered

    Over 80% of skin aging in adults was the result of their sun exposure as kids under the age of 18. Over time the sun’s UV rays damage the elastin which is the fibers in your skin. This makes me wonder how much damage has been done to my own skin’s fibers. As these fibers break down the skin can begin to sag and stretch. Too much sun will also cause pigmentation or irregular coloring in the skin. This will cause some areas to appear darker than others. Sometimes you’ll find that freckles can be found on the areas of the body which were sun-exposed. Although freckles don’t necessarily pose any health risk, some forms of skin cancer in the earliest stages will resemble a freckle. If you notice a freckle begins to change color or size or even begin to hurt, consult your doctor.

    There are thousands of ways our lives can be affected for the worse. It’s important to go about experiencing life in a way that is safer for us and our children, even if it simply means applying a little sunscreen before an afternoon at the zoo.


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