Learn sun protection common sense July 1 at Kalahari

SANDUSKY Stretched out on the beach, cooking beneath the blistering sun are droves of men and women
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010



Stretched out on the beach, cooking beneath the blistering sun are droves of men and women looking for a little relaxation and a nice tan.

On sunny days, the scene is the same at Nickel Plate Beach, Cedar Point Beach, Vermilion Main Street Beach, Port Clinton City Beach and Huron Lake Front Park Beach.

A little sun does the body good.

Dr. Teresa Ghazoul said it produces vitamin D and helps combat seasonal depression.

But soaking up too much sun can be dangerous.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and is linked to ultraviolet ray exposure, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The American Academy of Dermatology estimates one million people are diagnosed with the disease each year.

Skin cancer can arise from sun damage received many years earlier.

"You can see skin cancer up to 20 years after the initial exposure," said Ghazoul, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery and medical staff member for Fisher-Titus Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital. "Surprisingly, 80 percent of sun damage that a person receives is usually before age 20."

Melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, has been linked to sun exposure during the first 10 to 18 years of a person's life, according to the American Melanoma Foundation.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. July 1, Ghazoul will provide a free presentation at the Kalahari Convention Center called "Summer Sun Sense." The discussion focuses on the dangers of overexposure to ultraviolet rays, the best protection methods against the threat and what to do if already overexposed.

Having lived in the sun-rich states of Arizona and California, Ghazoul said she was surprised to see so many deeply-tanned residents in this area. Tanning is big business in this area, with tanning parlors even in small villages.

"I think people (in California and Arizona) are used to the sun and know they need to protect themselves," Ghazoul said. "People here get so little of it that they can't get enough of it when (the sun's out)."

Many people tan because they think it accentuates their looks.

But too much of it can wrinkle the skin and toughen its appearance. And skin cancer isn't particularly attractive given that it blackens the skin or creates sores and lesions.

Reversing sun damage can be tricky, but moisturizing the skin, applying lotions and creams, injection treatments, chemical peels and surgery often help, Ghazoul said.

Common sense and sunscreen are the best protections against skin problems, experts said. In moderation, the sun is your friend.