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The summertime allows you and your family to experience a multitude of memorable times outdoors.  Especially at our favorite parks, beaches and annual vacation spots.   Your skin will be exposed to the heat and beaming ultraviolet rays of the sun.  While enjoying the outdoors, teaching your child the importance of protecting their skin at an early age is good.  Sun safety is the key to preventing skin cancer.   Showing them how to adopt healthy lifestyle habits in their early stages of life will be advantageous as they grow into adulthood.

Although African-Americans are less likely to develop skin cancer due to our darker skin pigmentation, we are not excused from the possibility of being diagnosed with skin cancer.  African-Americans come in an array of hues ranging from very light to dark.  People should not ignore the possibility of getting skin cancer completely.  The most frequent type of skin cancer African-Americans develop is melanoma.  Melanoma occurs mainly on body sites that are not pigmented, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet,  and the skin underneath the nails.   Other areas are the mucucous membranes of the mouth, nasal passages and genitals. African-Americans should also pay attention to moles on their bodies and be alert to new and changing moles.  Lastly,  African- Americans should examine their fingernails and toenails for suspicious changes, which may include brown or black colored stripes under the nail or a spot that extends beyond the edge of the nail.  If you or someone you know notices such changes, consult  a doctor promptly because that may be signs of melanoma.  Melanoma that is detected and treated early can usually be cured.

Here are three tips for you and your family to protect yourself from the sun while outdoors:

1- Seek shade during the midday hours.

2- Use a sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher UVA and UV8 protection while outdoors.

3-  Try to cover up exposed body parts with clothing, hats and sunglasses  to protect exposed skin and make sure sunglasses have  UVA and UV8 protection that wrap around face.

These practices are simple and easy and can save your life.  Enjoy outdoors!

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