When the Beatles sang “Here Comes the Sun,” they harmonized about the pleasure Northerners feel when winter fades and spring ushers in warm rays that caress your skin. But a new study delivers data on skin cancer that means everyone -- North and South -- needs another lesson in sun safety: The rate of melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) has multiplied EIGHT times for women ages 18 to 39 and FOUR times for men the same ages in the past 40 years. Gals do worse than guys because they use tanning beds more often -- something hardly anyone should ever do!
Well, we want you to know you can soak up the shine safely -- and get all its vitamin-D-making powers -- without risking skin cancer. It's OK to bask for up to 20 minutes a day without sunscreen. On a sunny day in July, 4 minutes of midday sun on the fairest skin produces 1,000 IUs of D; the darkest skin will need 11-15 minutes for the same D-light.
Once you've got your daily sun, here's what you can do to make sure you are protected from harm:
--All year round, sun or rain, make sure your food PLUS supplements deliver 1,000 IUs of vitamin D-3 and 1,000 mg of calcium daily; this can cut your melanoma risk by up to 57 percent.
--Use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sunscreen with a 30 SPF. Apply it 1 mm thick (much thicker than you think). And reapply frequently. Then have some “Hot Fun in the Summertime”!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.