Baseball caps, flip flops and melanoma

This isn’t a personal health and wellness blog, but as a light-skinned, blue-eyed, bald redhead I feel compelled to post the occasional piece about sun exposure. I’ve  been careful about the sun since childhood, and a lot of people laugh at my broad brimmed hat, sunglasses, long-sleeve Sun Precautions swimshirt, and sneakers at the beach.  But the evidence seems to back me up. From HealthDay (Flip-Flops, Baseball Caps May Raise Risk of Skin Cancer)

Wearing flip-flops and baseball caps can increase your risk of skin cancer, an expert warns.

“Most skin cancers occur on the parts of the body that are repeatedly exposed to the sun,” Dr. Rebecca Tung, director of the dermatology division at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., said in a Loyola news release.

“The problem with flip-flops and baseball caps is that they leave the tips of the ears and the tops of the feet dangerously exposed to sun damage. The potential for skin cancers in those areas are real, especially on the tips of the ears,” she explained.

Before flip-flops and baseball caps became so popular, people generally wore broad-brimmed hats and sneakers or shoes that protected the tips of their ears and the tops of their feet.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a good site on skin cancer prevention. Key recommendations are fairly obvious but good to remember in any case:

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
July 13, 2011

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