The summer season is upon us and that means a lot of guys will be heading outdoors, perhaps to play golf, softball, or go out to the lake.
Each time you go outside, you increase your chance of getting skin cancer. This is Men's Health Week, and I’ve been highlighting men’s health issues. For this story, I’m talking about skin cancer.
It's the most common form of cancer in America and it affects more men than women. That's because men tend to spend more time outdoors than women. And sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
Take a look at the pictures with this story. It’s what you can look forward to if you ever have skin cancer. (And these are fairly mild cases)
Some of the pictures show a guy having a skin cancer excised from his neck.
(John Carter | WBTV)
Not a pretty sight, is it? It took a dozen stitches to sew that up!
And then, here's the same guy again. And check out all the spots on his face. That’s the result of a special treatment he underwent to remove precancerous skin cancers.
(John Carter | WBTV)
That's not very pretty. And yes, that guy is me.
So when I say you should do everything you can to avoid skin cancer, I know what I'm talking about. And so does my dermatologist, Dr. Stuart Wernikoff, who has this advice about men and skin care: "Well, in general, men tend to keep it simpler than women. But men have the same issues as women. They have sensitive skin. They can have dry skin. They can have combination skin, so they have to be aware of their cleanser, their moisturizer. Men also have to deal with shaving. Their face. Women don't have to deal with shaving their face. And they have to be aware of what razors they use. But the most important thing for men is to wear sunscreen every day, just like women. Because you want to try to prevent skin cancer."
Other than avoiding the sun altogether, the best protection against skin cancer is wearing sunscreen. Slather it on!
However, concerns are being raised about oxybenzone, which is a chemical commonly used in sunscreens. The Environmental Working Group is an international organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. It warns that oxybenzone is a "toxic chemical that is harmful to our health" and is working to have it removed from sunscreens.
Many dermatologists recommend you use natural or mineral sunscreens rather than chemical sunscreens because those chemicals are absorbed into the body. However, Consumer Reports says it has not found a mineral product that offers both top-notch UVA and UVB protection and meets its labeled SPF.
The best advice is to do a little research to determine which sunscreen is right for you. Both Consumer Reports and the Environmental Working Group have just released their top picks for sunscreen, so check them out: www.cr.org www.ewg.org.
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