NHM Health Focus: Healthy Skin
Your skin is the first line of defense against invaders from the world of pathogens and disease. It encases your body keeping disease agents on the outside and you inside. Your skin cools you when you are too hot, and helps warm you when you are too cold. Its sensors alert you to changes in the world around you as you feel heat and cold, pressure and pain.
While your skin protects you, it is also a good idea for you to protect your skin. Skin can be damaged by the sun's rays (UVA and UVB rays), insects, poor diet, chemicals, and lack of exercise.
"Cancer of the skin is the most common of all cancers, probably accounting for more than 50% of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for about 4% of skin cancer cases but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths." (ACS)
To prevent skin cancer, stay out of the sun. Skin cancer is a largely preventable disease when sun protective practices and behaviors are consistently applied and used. Protective practices such as staying in the shade, wearing shirt, pants or beach cover-up, wearing a hat, and using sunscreen you will greatly reduce your chances of skin cancer. (CDC) "A tan is the body's desperate attempt to protect itself from the sun's harmful rays." (AAFP)
Allergies, irritation and insect bites are other skin conditions over which you have some control.
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to skin health: