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Brighter colors and shorter outfits are suddenly the norm: After Memorial Day weekend, the summer is here in full swing. But along with family trips, sunshine and humidity the hot season also brings risks for your skin due to sun exposure. The first step to keep these risks at bay is to accept them and stop thinking “no, that can’t happen to me.” Next, you will find that it is not so hard to take care of your skin by using the proper sunblocker and eating food rich in antioxidants. Lastly, we all need to be on the lookout for early signs and do not let our guard down against skin cancer.

For Latinos, the odds of getting skin cancer or dying from these diseases are not so positive: “Hispanic people had the second highest rate of deaths [white people rank first] from melanoma of the skin, followed by black people,” says a study made by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention from 1998 to 2008.

In addition, it seems like only one in 14 Hispanic adults gets screened for skin cancer, according to a recent study done by medical researchers. This research also shows that it is possible that lack of health insurance and socioeconomic factors may be additional culprits for this lack of awareness in our community.

However, it is not that difficult to keep your skin healthy. Dr. Oz recommends limiting your direct sun exposure to 15 minutes a day and using UVA/UVB-blocking SPF 30 sunscreen. Also, eating red and orange foods like tomatoes and orange peppers may give you a good dose of antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene. Furthermore, coffee may also decrease your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.

For further information, check The Skin Cancer Foundation’s webpage for more resources. Learn how to practice a head-to-toe self-examination of the skin so you may find any new or changing lesions that might be problematic. “Skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable.”

Let’s enjoy the summer to the fullest. ¿Alguien quiere un cafecito?

Photo Credit: AARP