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Protection urged when spending time in sun

Anna Bonds of Wesson said since her parents have had to makefrequent appointments to have skin cancers removed since she was achild, she takes extra care to layer the sunscreen on her ownchildren.

“It might be too late for me,” said the 38-year-old mother. “ButI can make sure my kids don’t end up having to deal with it alltheir lives too.”

As such, she said, the sunscreen application process has becomea game to the children. Sometimes after they lather on their SPF100, they’ll take turns with colored sunscreen, drawing on eachother.

“It just makes sure that we’ve got all the protection we need,”she said. “I even put it in their hair.”

Brookhaven’s Lori Carter found out at age 25 that the perks of atropical tan and the relaxation and fun of laying in the sun andthe tanning bed had a dark side too.

“My regular doctor had spotted a mole that looked suspicious andhe basically demanded that I have a dermatologist take a look assoon as possible,” she said. “I did, within that same week. Thedermatologist biopsied the mole and the very next day he calledwith the big news, ‘Sorry to tell you this but that mole came backmelanoma, you need to figure out what surgeon you’re going to usefor your surgery.'”

For that reason, Carter said she’s one of the first to warnpeople about the dangers of ultra-violet rays. Her quarterlydermatologist visits help her to monitor any possible moles orother problems she can’t see, she said, but also she wearssunscreen even when outdoors time isn’t in the plan.

“I apply 30 SPF on my face every day, I was told by my doctoryou don’t realize how much sun you are exposed to by just yourdaily activities; driving in the car, working in your yard, andwalking your dog,” she said.

Many dermatologists agree with Carter’s doctor, directing theirpatients that when possible, the face should always be protected.Facial skin is thin and highly exposed, said www.skincancer.org,and many sunscreens now incorporate facial moisturizers. It shouldbe reapplied after water exposure or sweating.

Carter said she’s pleased with all the different ways to applysunscreen these days.

“It is so much easier now with the latest sunscreen developmentsto apply sunscreen every time you are exposed to the sun,” shesaid. “The aerosol and spray sunscreens have made protectingyourself and children so easy.”

And like the Bonds children, Carter’s children know to wait forsunscreen before they go anywhere.

“My children know it is a must, it’s a ritual in my home to’spray down’ before you swim or go outside to just play ball,” shesaid.

Summit’s Jeremy May has worked offshore for years, and he saidhe’s not afraid of the sun.

“I’ve tanned and burned so many times now that I think itwould’ve gotten me already,” he said.

Meanwhile McComb’s Sarah Jackson showed her bronzed arms andlegs and told her secret with a wink.

“Spray tan,” she said. “It’s not as cheap as just sitting in thesun, but at least I don’t have to worry it’s going to kill me. Andalso, I won’t look like I’m made out of an old leatherhandbag.”

Skincancer.org advises that Jackson is not wrong. Excessiveunprotected time in the sun leads to premature wrinkling, sagging,a leathery texture and hyperpigmentation, it says.

For that, Carter said, it’s worth staying under a layer of sunprotection, and she wishes she’d known earlier.

“If I had taken care of my skin the first 25 years of my life asI do now, then I most likely wouldn’t have to see a dermatologistevery three months,” she said.