Summer is here, and it seems like everyone is hitting the pool or the lake. Who doesn’t love relaxing on a boat with a few close friends, family members, and perhaps drinks with umbrellas in them? It’s all fun and games until somebody gets a nasty, blistering sunburn.

I got one of those several years ago at Lake Travis in Austin. My back was bare while I was on a boat with friends, I didn’t put an ounce of sunscreen on it, and I laid on a raft for about two hours. The next day, if it had been the time period where it was cool to type OMG, that would have been my choice of acronyms. Or perhaps IMBOF (is my back on fire). And yes, I made that up.

What’s our skin cancer risk in Texas?

The Centers for Disease Control has mapped it out for us, and actually Texas its hot summers are lower on the list than you might think. The skin cancer risk is greatest in states including New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon.

Have the sunscreen handy this summer! The American Cancer Society says melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 75,000 cancer cases this year nationwide.

The funny thing about Texas is, when the sun is at it’s peak scorching potential in July and August, many people stay inside. People in Minnesota may stay inside in January and February because the winters are harsh; we stay inside in July and August because the summers are harsh. Maybe that’s why we escape some of the risk.

Regardless, when you are outside, lather on the sunscreen. It’s just smart. I’ll pass along one helpful tidbit from my dermatologist, whom I see every year or so for a good once-over now that I’m old enough to be freaked out by the possibilities behind a strange-looking mole. We don’t necessarily need 100 sfp, or any other kind of turbo sunscreen that we might think is an all-powerful protectant. We’re supposed to reapply every hour or two anyway, so 30 spf works just fine.

Now, back to your summer of fun!

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