Sunny skies mean watch out for your skin

Local

Sunny days can be enjoyable, but constant exposure to the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer.

Ark-La-Tex Dermatology held free screenings for “Melanoma Monday” to raise awareness.

Dermatologists said almost all skin cancers are curable if caught early. It’s vital to catch it early because melanomas can keep growing, spread in the body, and ultimately cause death.

You should be wary of skin cancer if you’ve had more than five sunburns in your life, have a family-history of skin cancer, or spent time in tanning beds.

Also, checks those moles. Dermatologists keep a list of what to look for. If melanomas look weird, discolored, or change over time, go see your doctor. 

“This region it’s very common because we have a lot of people who are farmers, we have a lot of people who are in the oil industry. So a combination of petroleum products and lots of sun can really increase your risks of skin cancer,” said Dr. Josephine Futrell, Ark-La-Tex Dermatology.

Dr. Futrell said wear your sunscreen, at least SPF 30.

Hawaii just banned certain sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate because they harm coral reefs. She said look for effective alternatives listed as “chemical-free” that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.     

“Avoid the peak hours in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Seek the shade, seek sun protectant clothing and don’t even look at a tanning bed. Use self-tanners instead,” Futrell said. 

She said Caucasians and people with fair skin often have higher rates of melanomas, but black people and those with darker skin need to be aware because they will often go undiagnosed for longer.

Doctor Futrell said you can use antioxidants to help protect against the sun. Which is Vitamin E and C in the form of serums you can use along with sunscreen.

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