Easter is this Sunday and with it the herald of spring. This marks the beginning of a mass exodus by Orleanians to the Gulf Coast or other spots for sun and fun.
What’s changed about this seasonal rite is a new awareness regarding the potential hazards of spending days in the sun. On the beach you will see lots of “crispy critters” who look as though they are completely oblivious to the dire warnings concerning skin cancer, but for the rest of us, who prefer a little caution, here is some information.
Virtually all of our wrinkles come from being out in the sun. Plus sun causes over 500,000 people to develop skin cancer each year. Almost all skin cancers occur on parts of the body most frequently exposed to the sun’s radiation — the face, neck, ears, forearms, and hands. Skin cancer is most often found in fair skinned individuals with excessive, long term sun exposure and is generally treated by a variety of surgical methods often on an outpatient basis.
To protect yourself, stay out of the sun between 10 am and 2 pm, especially during the months of April through September. Wear protective clothing when outside. Wear sunblock of SPF 15, even during the shortest exposures to the sun. Up to 15, sun protection factors (SPF’s) are fairly accurate. But the Food and Drug Administration say there are doubts whether SPF’s of 30 or more actually provide significant more protection.
The FDA also cautions that different sunscreens are needed for different skin types, that children six months to two years need and SPF of at least 4 and that it is simply best to keep children under six months out of the sun. Usually by the time you are 18, you have received one-half of your lifetime radiation.