This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Did you know your skin is the largest organ of the body? Skin covers the entire surface of the human body and protects your insides from the harsh environment of the world outside. Skin serves many purposes: it forms a protective barrier against trauma, shields your delicate tissues against ultraviolet (UV) radiation, regulates against temperature extremes, and keeps out toxins and bacteria. Skin also helps with sensory perception, allowing us to feel and sense textures and temperature. Skin is an important part of a healthy body.
Your skin does a lot for you, but what are you doing for your skin? Because skin is constantly bombarded with UV radiation from the sun and toxins from the environment, it can suffer from problems like wrinkles, aging, and skin cancer. You can take steps year-round to help protect this vital organ and ensure that it keeps doing its job to protect your body.
Stay in the shade, especially during mid-day hours when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Cover up your skin by wearing clothing that covers your body and a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher that provides protection from both UVA and UVB radiation. Remember to cover all exposed skin, and don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or any time you sweat or get out of the water.
Use sunscreen even on cloudy days. The sun’s rays can penetrate the clouds and you can still get burned.
Avoid indoor tanning, since tanning booths expose skin to dangerous levels of both types of damaging UVA and UVB radiation.
Here in Nevada, we are lucky enough to have many days of beautiful, sunny weather. However, each year, hundreds of Nevadans are diagnosed with dangerous and deadly forms of skin cancer. Keep yourself safe in the sun. Don’t forget to take steps to protect your skin each and every day.