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Fun in the sun can be deadly – Ogden Clinic provided source, Davis Clipper Wellness publication June 2015

DAVIS COUNTY – Who doesn't love a bright sunny day soaking in some rays at the pool or on the tennis court? But those care-free days can come back to haunt you if you aren't taking proper precautions now. "The biggest skin concern for people in Utah are the effects of chronic sun damage," said Dr. Michael Hadley, Board Certified Dermatologist for Ogden Clinic. "These changes include; aging, wrinkling, sun spots, blotchy pigmentation and most worrisome, skin cancer."

Most people are aware of sun-induced changes such as a suntan or sunburn, but there may be more damage going on beneath the surface, according to the Mayo Clinic. Repeated sun exposure can progress to cancer. Although the sunburn may fade, the damage does not. If the exposure is so intense as to cause a sunburn, it can damage DNA cells which can lead to cancer. "Skin cancer will affect one in five Americans," said Dr. Jason Hadley, Board Certified Dermatologist for Ogden Clinic. "A skin check may sound like a daunting procedure for some, but, in reality, it's a simple and quick visual screening that is your first line of defense against skin cancer."

Men as well as woman are at risk. Although some skin damage can be reversed, prevention is key. "The best type of sunscreen is a broad spectrum sun screen that blocks both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays," said Michael Hadley. "The best sunscreens are what we call physical blockers, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide." When applying sunscreen, use it 30 minutes before going outside to give it time to absorb, then reapply throughout the day. Don't forget the back of the neck, ears and other exposed areas. Sunscreen can expire so check the date. Men, that bald head is a prime target for the sun rays. Wear a hat as often as possible.

The natural sunshine isn't the only danger. Tanning beds can cause damage too. "Recent studies have shown that those who use tanning beds are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never used tanning beds," said Michael Hadley. "Evidence does not support any beneficial effects from having a 'base tan.'"

The Mayo Clinic offers these tips for sun safety:

  • Avoid the sun during high-intensity hours. The sun's rays are most damaging from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reduce the time you spend outdoors during these hours.
  • Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.
  • Use sunscreen

"The skin is a complex organ, and a dermatologist is a great person to have in your corner when it comes to your skin and overall health," said Jason Hadley. "Sometimes serious illnesses can manifest in your skin, causing symptoms such as pain, swelling, redness, burning or other disorders. Your skin might provide the first evidence to diagnose cancer, arthritis and other autoimmune disorders." Skin is the largest and fastest growing organ on the body, said Jason Hadley. "Your skin protects you from the elements and, unless it is cut or damaged, keeps germs and other diseases out of your body. Show it some love."

Download Davis Wellness - June 2015 edition