Tips to keep your skin safe this summer

Published: Jul. 17, 2019 at 5:44 PM EDT
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With an excessive heat watch starting Friday, several people are already planning their weekend trip to the pool. However, the higher temperatures bring a higher risk for heat-related illnesses.

Experts recommend drinking water and cooling off in shaded, air-conditioned areas to beat the heat, and getting out of the sun could also be good for your skin.

Terri Francis, program manager for the American Cancer Society, said melanoma is on the rise in people under 20 years old. The main contributor to the increase is tanning beds, but Francis recommends protecting your skin any time you go outside this summer.

According to Francis, sunscreen is the biggest defense against sun damage. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to painful sunburn, skin damage, skin aging and skin cancer.

Experts recommend using at least 15 SPF and reapplying every 40 minutes. Francis said sun damage can happen in just 15 minutes.

In addition to sunscreen, they recommend wearing a hat, especially for men who commonly have their ears exposed. Sunglasses are also important, according to Francis, because melanoma can affect the eyes. Women should also reach for makeup with some level of SPF.

Francis said people should be checked by a doctor or dermatologist at least once yearly. If a person finds a strange mole or spot, they should have that checked as soon as possible.

At your yearly checkup, Francis recommends asking your doctor to map your body. This means they will note any moles or spots and compare them year-to-year.