Skin Cancer: Who’s Most at Risk?

When you consider who is most at risk for skin cancer, it’s important to remember one key fact: no one is immune to skin cancer. While some people are more at risk than others due to a variety of factors (which are discussed below), the fact is that no one is totally risk free.

That said, there are some things that increase or decrease your risk of skin cancer.

Factors That Influence Skin Cancer Risk:

1. Freckles

If you freckle easily, this is your body’s signal that this is how it deals with sun exposure. If your skin tends to “make” freckles in response to sun exposure, then there may be a greater likelihood that your skin will respond by developing cancer.

2. Light Hair and Eyes

These physical traits are known to indicate an increased risk of skin cancer, particularly light blond and red hair.

3. Do You Burn Easily?

Even some light-skinned people do not burn very easily, but for those who do, cancer risk is likely increased. People who burn easily and do not tan have smaller amounts of melanin (pigment) in their skin. Melanin is the body’s natural protection against sun, so if you don’t have enough of it, your skin is more likely to burn.

4. Genes

Have others in your family had skin cancer? Experts agree that genetics play a role, and you may be more at risk if skin cancer “runs in the family.”

5. Moles

If you have a lot of moles – particularly on sun-exposed areas of your skin – then you may be more at risk for skin cancer. Large moles are especially vulnerable. Moles that change shape, size, or color should be checked by a doctor.

6. Sunburns in the Past

Did you have a lot of sunburns in the past, or one or two really bad ones? Many sources agree that this raises your risk of developing skin cancer significantly.

7. Sunbathing

Even if you sunbathe “responsibly,” getting a tan is essentially damaging your skin. The same goes for tanning salons and tanning booths. “Baking” in the sun or under lights to get a tan can raise your risk of skin cancer.

8. Geographical Location

If you live in an area with year-round sunlight that’s bright, you may have a greater risk of developing skin cancer. In Arizona, the risk of skin cancer is twice what it is in Minnesota, sources say.

9. Chemical Exposure

Some insecticides are made with a heavy metal called arsenic. Exposure to arsenic raises the risk of skin cancer. Exposure to coal, tar, paraffin, and some oils may also increase risk.

10. Gender

Did you know that sources say men are two to three times as likely as women to develop skin cancer? It may have to do with spending time shirtless in the sun, or being out more; but the statistics agree than men are more likely to get this disease.

Now that you know some of the main risk factors, you can take appropriate precautions and avoid skin cancer.

Two-Minute Meditation Techniques That You Can Do Anywhere

Meditation is said to be good for the body, mind, and soul. However, stressing out about being able to meditate is never a good thing. Instead, taking a few minutes out of your busy day to practice some meditation techniques will keep you up and running and staying that way.

If you are like most individuals, taking time out for exercising or meditating is not a reality at the moment. However, that does not have to stop you.

If You Have Two Minutes Here and There, You Can Practice Meditation Techniques Anywhere.

Relaxation and Tension Techniques

A great way to practice mediation is to experience what it feels like to relax your muscle tension. However, the first part of learning to relax is to differentiate between relaxing your muscles and tightening them.

Sitting at your desk, begin with your feet and flex and point your toes. Move up to your calves and tighten that area and hold and then release. Move up to your thighs, repeat this same procedure, and work your way up through all of the various muscle groups in your body.

This procedure tightens the muscle groups so you become more aware of your body and thereafter will be able to recognize how to release that tension and relax.

Deep Breathing

Sit quietly for a few moments and take the time to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Make sure that you feel your belly and diaphragm move up and down so that you know you are doing this correctly. Practice some deep breathing slowly and calmly so as not to hyperventilate.

Breathe quietly while feeling the tension in your body melt away, muscle by muscle, inch by inch. Let the stress leave your body with each breath and return clean and refreshed.

Clearing Your Mind

You can sit in your car during lunch hour and take a few deep breaths, stretch a bit, and roll your neck gently from side to side. Resting your head back, close your eyes and picture a clean white sheet of paper.

Clear your mind, release any negative thoughts visualizing them floating up and out through the top of your head, leaving nothing behind but clean pure white paper. Find that place in your gut that feels peaceful. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting all thoughts go outward.

These techniques can all be utilized anywhere and every day. Practice them daily and you will see that these little techniques can go a long way to clear your mind, body, and spirit.

Tips for Keeping Kids’ Brains Engaged Over the Summer

While every parent relishes the thought of no after-school activities or sporting events, summer can have challenges of its own. Having the kids home for summer may make for lazy, relaxed days, but keeping the kids from being bored is not an easy task.

Keeping the kids’ brains engaged over the summer is not an easy task either.

However, there are ways that you can keep kids thinking and make their mind engaged while they are daydreaming at the beach.

Use the Outdoors

Using the good old outdoors is a great way to keep kids thinking as well as active. There are so many activities in the great outdoors that can expand a child’s mind.

The Beach – Going to the beach does not have to be an entire day spent in the water. Make a deal with your child that you will take him or her and a friend or two to the beach and even treat them to lunch if they will give you an hour of reading time. Pack up the sunscreen and a good book and go.

Camping – If you have never gone camping before, taking your kids while they are little is a great way to engage their bodies and their minds. Camping takes a lot of preparation and some effort as well. Have your kids fully participate in the packing up and purchasing gear. Take your kids to the local library and grab some camping books so they can read up on the subject.

Look into pitching a real old-fashioned tent or maybe even have them agree that they have to learn how to put the tent together. Nothing makes a kid’s brain work harder than trying to figure out how to pitch a tent!

Picnics – Make a deal with your kids to take them on a picnic and perhaps a boat ride in exchange for them bringing along an educational game to play while picnicking – perhaps a good old-fashioned game of chess, checkers, or a board game that involves some critical thinking. They do not have to know that these games keep them thinking; let them just think it is a fun idea to play board games in the park.


There are probably many forms of sightseeing right in your town or a neighboring town that are educational and fun.

Go to a Museum – A trip to your big city to visit a well-known museum is a learning experience but also fun.

Go to a Historical Home – Taking a trip to a historical home can be fun and educational as well.

Visit a Planetarium – Going to a planetarium loads kids up on science while giving them tons of fun.

These are just a few great ways to keep kids entertained while exercising their brain.

Top Four Tips for Harvesting and Storing Fresh Herbs

Growing herbs or buying them fresh is a healthful and tasty way to use these plants. But harvesting and storing them at the correct times and using the best methods is important for success.

Here are four tips for harvesting and storing fresh herbs.

1. Timing Is Everything

When it comes to harvesting herbs, timing is important. With some herbs, like lemon balm, you can get several harvests out of them. Other herbs, like basil, like to be cut back frequently all summer. Here are some general rules for timing:

  • Herbs that grow quickly, like mints, can be harvested in early summer, mid-summer, and again in early fall.
  • Slower-growing herbs may be harvested in mid-summer. They need time to recover and put out new leaves before frost, so if you harvest them too late in the year they may be killed by the frost (even if they are perennial).
  • Harvest in the mid to late morning, right after the dew has dried on the leaves.
  • If herbs are woody or turning bronze or yellow, you may get bitter or unpleasant flavors.
  • Flowering herbs can be harvested right after the first bloom to give the foliage a chance to grow back.
  • For cooking with fresh herbs, you can snip off what you need as you are preparing your meal – any time of year.

2. Not too Close

When you cut herbs during the growing season, don’t cut them down to the ground. Leave some of the stem and at least a few leaves so the plant can regrow.

3. Storing Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs need moisture, cool temperatures, and air circulation to stay fresh for a few days after being cut. One of the most effective methods is to cut the bottom of the stems and set the herbs upright in a plastic tub or glass jar. Pour in a quarter inch or so of water. Then loosely cover the top of the herbs with a plastic bag and refrigerate.

4. Long-Term Storage

You can freeze or dry herbs for long-term storage. Some dry better than others. Basil and chives, for instance, are better frozen; when dried they tend to lose flavor. But sage and mint are perfect for drying. To freeze, lay herbs on a sheet of wax paper that’s approximately twice as long as a zip-top plastic bag. Lay the herbs on half the wax paper, and then fold the other half over the herbs. Slip the package into the plastic bag, suck out the air, seal, and freeze.

To dry herbs, hang them by the stems upside-down for several days in a warm, dry area. Attics are great for this. After a few days, lay out sheets of newspaper and strip the crisp dried leaves from the stems. Store the leaves in jars or zip-top bags.

Herbs are wonderful medicinal and culinary additions to your diet and home healthcare arsenal. These tips should help you get the most out of them.

14 Year-Round Skin Care Tips

When you think of protecting your skin, you probably think of wearing sunscreen in the summer. But your skin needs protection all year round, and not just from the sun. Skin care is for all seasons!

Here Are 14 Year-Round Skin Care Tips to Help You Keep a Healthful Glow:


1. Skip the Hot Shower

Dry skin can be a real problem in the winter, and long, hot showers tend to make it worse. The hot water strips your skin of its natural oils, and can irritate skin that’s already dry.

2. Moisturize Multiple Times a Day

Use a thick, cream-style moisturizer after showers and apply it periodically through the day. Moisturizing before bed is also a good idea.

3. Moisturizing Makeup

If you wear makeup, you might consider switching to moisture-rich makeup that hydrates your skin. You can also mix plain moisturizer with your makeup as you apply it.

4. Eat Good Fats

In the winter, consuming fatty fish like salmon and healthful oils like olive oil can help keep your skin moist during the dry winter months.


5. Don’t Get Caught in the Sun!

How many of us usher in the first warmth of the year with a sunburn? Just because it’s not super-hot doesn’t mean you don’t need sun protection. So take sensible precautions before going out in the early spring sun.

6. Exfoliate

Spring is a great time to exfoliate your whole body, face included. Slough off the dry skin of winter and welcome the moist spring air!

7. Keep Moisturizing

Don’t give up on the moisturizer, although you can probably back off on the thick stuff. Experts recommend lotions containing shea butter. You can also make your own moisturizing cleanser with plain yogurt, sweet almond oil, and raw honey.


8. Sun Protection

Go for a sunscreen that’s SPF 15 to 30, keeping key areas like the nose, top of the ears, cheeks, and shoulders covered. Sources also recommend sunscreens that are broad-spectrum. If you like, use makeup with sunscreen in it. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and don’t go sleeveless if you’re going to be in full sunlight.

9. Exfoliate Again

Summer is also a good time to exfoliate. Sweat and dead skin cells can accumulate on the skin’s surface.

10. Seek Shade

Wherever you are, seek periodic breaks in the shade. This gives your skin a break and helps prevent sunburns.

11. Light Moisture

You don’t need the heavy creams so much now. You can go with thinner, lighter lotions as the season warms up.


12. Sun Protection Is Still Important

The days are getting shorter and the sunlight is beginning to slant, but you can still get a burn on those sunny fall days.

13. Thicken Up

Now is the time to make the switch to cream-based, thick moisturizers. Starting early can help stave off really dry skin later in the winter.

14. Vitamins

Summer produce is slacking off, but you still need skin-healthy nutrients. Fish or flax oil supplements and a good multi-vitamin can help keep your skin looking summer-fresh.

As you can see, skin care is not relegated to summer! Hopefully, these tips will help you have healthy skin for all seasons.