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WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: Tips to protect your skin in summer sun

"When your skin is exposed to the sun, it causes damage to the DNA. It can cause mutations and those mutations is what leads eventually to the skin cancer."

TYLER, Texas — Sunshine and warmer temperatures are here and and it's only going to get hotter throughout the summer months.

As the temperature rises, that means more people outside soaking up the sun! However, this also puts people at risk as they bask in the sun's damaging rays.

If not adequately protected or covered, some of the early indications of skin cancer could possibly develop. Signs may vary, based on genetics and skin complexion.   

According to Mayo Clinic, one of the most common and concerning skin cancer is melanoma, which signs include: 

  • A large brownish spot with darker speckles
  • A mole that changes in color, size or feel or that bleeds
  • A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue or blue-black
  • A painful lesion that itches or burns
  • Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth or nose

If you notice any of these signs on your skin, it's best to get checked out by a dermatologist immediately. This form of cancer can cause internal harm to your organs if left untreated, sometimes leading to death.  

The best way to avoid this is to apply an SPF 30 sunscreen or sunblock to your skin before you step outside and reapply every hour during the day. 

With many different forms of skin protection out on the market, Dr. Cris Berlingeri with US Dermatology Partners in Tyler says it's best to use one that works personally best for you.  

"Patients ask me all the time, what's the best sunscreen and my answer to them is the one that you use," said Dr. Berlingeri. "As long as the SPF, sun protection factor, number is 30 and you use it and you reapply, it's good enough."

Both sunscreen and sunblock are great forms of skin protection. The only difference between them is their ways of protection from the UV rays. Sunscreen absorbs and scatters sunshine before it can penetrate the skin. Sunblock sits on top of the skin and blocks the sun's rays by reflecting, according to realsimple.com. 

Dr. Berlingeri also adds that clothing and shade are good weapons of protection against the sun. 

"Nowadays you can find clothing in almost any store clothing that protects from the sun rays, and also look for the shade when you are outside," said Dr. Berlingeri. "Yes, you can still get sunburned if you don't have your sunblock or protective clothing.

The next time you step outside, dermatologists say make sure to apply skin protection on the back and tip of your ear -- especially for those who wear their hair in a ponytail parted. 

Make sure to apply a sunscreen spray to your scalp as well. Those areas are some of the common spots dermatologists see skin cancer can develop. 

The times to avoid the sun's UV rays are between the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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