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Protect your skin this spring and summer

Some advice on dieting and physical activity.

Christina Rittenbach
Christina Rittenbach, extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences division of the North Dakota State University Extension Service in Stutsman County.
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The spring and summer months allow us to get outside to enjoy warmer weather, green grass, flowers and perhaps even fresh vegetables from our garden or farmers markets. With more time spent outside under direct sunlight, it is important to keep our skin health in mind. Keeping our skin healthy means protecting it from too much sun exposure, staying hydrated, and nourishing it with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthful diet.

There are several things we can do to protect our skin from too much sun exposure.

  • Seek shade, especially during the midday hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wear sunscreen while outside.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothes and pants made from tightly woven fabric.
  • Be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat made from fabric with a tight weave to shade your eyes and protect your neck and ears.
  • Wear high-quality sunglasses that protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. Exposure to UV rays is linked with macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss as we age. Cataracts (a clouding of the cornea) and skin cancer on the eyelids are also linked to unprotected exposure to sunlight.

In addition to these protective measures, monitoring our skin is also important for skin health. According to one study, self-checks of skin may decrease mortality from melanoma by 63 percent because doctors do not routinely check for skin abnormalities. To check your skin, ask yourself the following questions.
Do you have any spots on your skin that:

  • Have changed in color, size, or texture?
  • Have irregular borders?
  • Are bigger than ¼ inch?
  • Appeared after age 21?
  • Appear pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored?
  • Itch, hurt, crust over or scab, erode, bleed, or haven’t healed within three weeks?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, be sure to let your health-care provider know.
For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

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