Catch rays, not cancer: specialists urge Americans to protect skin with sunscreen

It turns out that Mom may have been right: sunscreen is just as important for a day at the beach as volleyballs and sandcastle buckets. People who don't protect their skin before catching some rays are at risk for severe sun damage. Although this can be addressed with laser skin rejuvenation, developing an aggressive condition like melanoma could be dangerous and life-threatening.

Research published in the journal Archives of Dermatology reports that this disease is the most lethal form of skin cancer. Studies have shown that melanoma is most commonly diagnosed among Caucasian women between the ages of 15 and 39 who live in higher socioeconomic neighborhoods.

When the researchers looked at the incidence of melanoma based on financial security, they found that the most significant increases occurred among young women in the highest three levels of socioeconomic status.

"Interventions should target girls and young women because they have experienced a significantly greater increase in disease burden," the authors wrote in their paper.

Those who are looking to avoid sun damage and skin cancer may want to protect themselves with light, long-sleeved clothing and plenty of sunscreen. The sooner these preventive measures are taken, the better, as most people get 80 percent of their lifetime sun exposure when they are young, according to eHealthMD.

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Mar 25th, 2011
by Dr. Mitchell Chasin
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