Keep Your Skin Healthy This Summer
Summer means more time spent outdoors soaking up the sun. And while you can enjoy the extra boost of Vitamin D, Bayhealth Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Jonathan Sarik, MD, says you should be mindful of the effects the sun can have on your skin.
- Wear sunscreen daily. This is one of the single most important things that we can do to protect ourselves from the sun. Even what most people will consider as mild sun exposure such as getting in and out of their car and traveling to work, or even a short walk around their neighborhood does build up to a significant exposure over time. Wearing a daily sunscreen is the best protective measure to prevent the chronic damages of sun exposure which can cosmetically alter the skin as well as predispose us to skin cancers. We recommend wearing at least an SPF of 30 or higher to any area of skin that is not covered with clothing. This should often be reapplied at least every two hours or after excessive sweating or swimming.
- Minimize excess sun exposure. Even with regular sunscreen use, no sunscreen will block 100% of the sun's rays, thus it is important to stay in the shade and wear protective clothing and hats when you are going to be outside for long periods of time. This includes lightweight long-sleeved shirts that often have additional protection. These are labeled as UPF or ultraviolet protective factor, which is similar to the SPF number we see on sunscreen products. Additionally, the use of tanning beds should always be avoided. All the available data suggests that they increase the risk of skin cancer significantly.
- Do not forget to protect sensitive areas. The top and backs of your ears as well as your lips get a significant amount of sun exposure, and we often forget to apply sunscreen to them. Traditional sunscreen can be applied to the ears and there are lip balms or lipsticks available that contain SPF to protect your lips.
- Get regular skin checks. Another important factor is to have annual checkups with a dermatologist or other healthcare professional to assess for changes in skin lesions or growth of new lesions. It is important to keep in mind that it is best to set up these appointments when you do not currently have a tan as tanned skin is often difficult to fully assess for subtle lesions.
Following these tips can help ensure you get a healthy glow this summer—without compromising skin safety.
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