Western Washington is about to get its first stretch of warm, sunny weather this year, with highs in the 70s through the weekend and possibly 80 by next week. It may be the first time most of your skin has been exposed to the sun in 2017, so it's a perfect time to remember the precautions you need to take to prevent skin cancer.
Your skin will be extra sensitive to the sun's rays at first, especially if you have pale skin. But people with darker skin tones also need to be careful.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says incidents of skin cancer among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are lower than in whites. But research shows people of color with cancer tend to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage leading to lower survival rates.
"A lot of people think that you won't get it because of your skin color. Yes, you can get it," Kimberly Dunbar said, Her daughter Kai is black. She contracted stage three skin cancer at age 9.
"You should still get checked. You should still watch for changes, watch how much sun you get when you leave, wear sunscreen, wear long sleeves, hats, protect yourself," Kai, who is now in remission, said.
The best sunscreen to use is broad spectrum, so look to make sure it protects from UVA and UVB rays. The SPF should be 30 or higher.
Reapply it every two hours or right after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Also, make sure it's water or sweat resistant, and remember that water resistant doesn't mean waterproof.
Don't forget to apply it to your ears and nose. Wearing a hat can also help protect these areas.
Check the expriation date. Sunscreen lasts for about three years, but it's less if it's been exposed to high temperatures.