Wayne YMCA

Living Well

Let's face it, everyone likes a "healthy glow" in the summertime.  Being outdoors at the pool, beach, lake, or wherever the warm weather takes you is part of summer fun. But there are important safety measures to follow to protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays during the warm weather months (or any time of year).  

Laura Tiedge, the Executive Director of the Wayne YMCA, exercises and stays active outside on a regular basis.  She recently underwent MOHS surgery for a basal cell carcinoma,  one of the two most common types of skin cancer.  "I usually see the dermatologist once a year but I wasn't able to go last year.  When I went in for a check up recently, my doctor saw some spots on my face that looked suspicious."

After the preventative surgery on her forehead, Laura's eye was bruised and swollen, "You should have seen the other guy," she joked. 

But sun protection is no laughing matter.  More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. "I am pretty vigilant about using sunscreen with a SPF of 30 and above," she explained, "I like to think I use precautionary measures consistently, yet I still developed pre-cancerous spots on my skin because I didn't practice sun safety when I was young.  No one knew how dangerous UV
rays could be at that time."

That is why it is so important to follow sun-safe behaviors, especially at a young age, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

 • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.

  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
    Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

Laura is committed to making sure others learn from her experience. "A visit to your dermatologist should be included as one of your annual checkups," she advises. 

Dr. Chima, Medical Director at Corederm Dermatology agrees. "Skin cancer screenings are important because cancer can be found at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat."

If you haven't already, find a dermatologist you like and make an appointment for a full body exam.  And make sure that you and your family follow the sun-safe behaviors above in order to play it safe all summer long.