Summer is upon us once again, and it’s time to remember to take extra daily precautions with your skin. In order to maintain the health and integrity of your skin, please remember the following:
- Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater at least 20 minutes before sun exposure, and then at least every 2 hours thereafter (use more frequently if you are sweating or swimming). Slather on at least one to two ounces or enough to fill a shot glass!
- Select cosmetic products and contact lenses that offer UV protection. Sunscreens can lose their potency, so make sure to check the expiration date. To be sure, start with a fresh supply each summer.
- Never rely solely on cosmetics for sunscreen protection. There are many sunscreens available in non-greasy formulations specifically for the face. These are easy to use under cosmetics.
· Wear sunglasses with total UV protection (UVA and UVB)
- Wear wide-brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts, and pants when possible
- Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths
- Eighty percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. If you are a parent, be a good role model and foster skin protection habits in your child!
- Avoid tanning beds
- Don’t forget to protect your scalp. Mist with a spray sunscreen or better yet, wear a hat.
- Drink plenty of water. All of your body, including your skin, needs it!
In case you are wondering what will happen if you forget these tips too often, or have had prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun, the following are effects of sun exposure:
· Pre-cancerous (actinic keratosis) and cancerous (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma) skin lesions (these can look like moles or changes in moles, so please see your doctor if you have concerns)
· Benign tumors
· Fine and coarse wrinkles
· Discolored areas of the skin, called mottled pigmentation or melasma
· A yellow discoloration of the skin
· The dilation of small blood vessels under the skin that appear like small spider veins or broken capillaries
We hope this information helps as you venture outdoors. Have a happy, safe and healthy Summer!