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Sun safety: protecting your skin ahead of summer

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- With summer almost underway, the Borderland is already starting to feel the heat, and there are some recommendations you can follow to stay safe and prevent the risk of skin cancer.

ABC-7 spoke with Charlie Swopes, a cancer navigator at the Hospitals of Providence, who told us about the importance of wearing sunscreen all year round.

Swopes says one must wear sunscreen whether it's sunny or not since ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays can still penetrate even if it's cloudy.

Swopes also said it's vital to apply sunscreen with a recommended sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 and apply it to exposed areas when taking part in outdoor activities.

“It depends really on the fairness of your skin and your family history. You can again go up to 50, depending on your family history, not necessarily your age, but younger children, too, can go up a little bit. Again, the recommended is 30 SPF,” said Swopes.

While younger children can use sunscreen with higher SPF, Swopes says babies under six months should not be exposed to the sun at all and should be covered at all times.

Even with the use of sunscreen, it's important to make self-assessments of one's own body and look for changes that could potentially indicate something serious.

“We should all be doing self assessments, looking at our moles or whatever we might have on our skin and watching for changes. Again, the hard part is going to be your back, your back areas that you can't really see. And that's why a health care provider assessment is always a good addition to your self assessment," said Swopes.

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