#86 Skin Care & Sunny Weather

Your skin is your body’s first line of defense against the environment around you. It helps protect you from injury, infection and harmful substances. It also helps regulate your body temperature and plays a role in your sense of touch. Despite the image of a tan looking “healthy”, excessive exposure to the sun is responsible for much of the skin damage associated with aging. It’s a lifelong process, as over time your skin slowly accumulates the drying and damaging effects of the sun.

Much of the damage is cosmetic but the effect of sun on your skin over many years can be deadly. Excessive sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer, by far the most common form of cancer diagnosed. Almost half of all Americans who reach age 65 will develop a skin cancer at least once.

With age, your skin normally becomes thinner and finely wrinkled. Environmental factors, such as cigarette smoking and excessive exposure to the sun, can greatly accelerate these natural changes. But there are precautions you can take. Armed with adequate sunscreen and protective clothing, you can – at any age – prevent damage to your skin. This is yet another reason for wearing a hard hat.

Protect your skin from the sun; Ultraviolet light is the major cause of photoaging and skin cancer – wear protective clothing, apply sunscreen and avoid exposure especially to the midday sun. Cleanse your face gently and shave gently. Shaving can irritate thin, dry, photoaged skin. It’s best to soften your beard with a warm washcloth before shaving and use a shaving cream or gel that softens your beard.

Almost 1 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in America. About 80 percent are basal cell or squamous cell cancers, the forms most easily treated. Melanomas have more potential to spread, but with early detection, surgical removal usually results in a cure. If you have a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole or other skin marking, report it to your supervisor or see your doctor promptly – remember you are at greater risk living in the Sun Belt, there’s no safe suntan!