Tuesday, May 22, 2018
With warmer weather comes more time in the great outdoors, lounging by the pool, visiting the beach and incidentally soaking up some rays. It’s great to have fun outdoors, but Harbin Clinic Dermatology wants everyone to make sure to be proactive in protecting themselves from the sun.
“Something that everyone needs to understand is that the sun causes skin cancer,” Dr. Julia Girard says. “And the best way to reduce your and your family’s skin cancer risk is to reduce your sun exposure.”
One way to avoid sun exposure is to only go outside at night, however that’s not realistic. Dr. Girard recommends some more reasonable ways to reduce sun exposure that anyone can practice.
“Putting on sunscreen is very important. But people can also wear hats and longer, lightweight clothes made to be breathable and protect you from sun exposure,” she says. “One of the big things about sunscreen is that it’s only as protective when it’s used the right way.”
Reapply sunscreen every couple of hours
“A lot of people will put sunscreen on and then go sit out by the pool or the beach for six hours. That’s not going to keep them protected,” she says.
As for what type of sunscreen to use, Dr. Girard offers an easy tip.
“People ask me what the best sunscreen is, and I tell them the best kind is the one they will use,” she says.
Along with this tip Dr. Girard suggests picking sunscreens with a high SPF (sun protection factor), reapplying the sunscreen every couple of hours, using about four ounces or enough sunscreen to fill a shot glass and not forgetting to apply it to the neck, chest, ears and scalp.
“A lot of times people don’t put on enough sunscreen to begin with, so they’re not getting that full SPF number on the bottle,” she says. “Too many people put it on too thin. I tell my patients the sunscreen in their makeup doesn’t count, because there is so little of it.”
Pick the right time of day to do outdoor activities
“If you’re going for a walk or a run or you need to do some yard work, try to avoid the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the most intense,” Dr. Girard says.
Dr. Girard also warns that just because it might be later in the day or it’s overcast not to get lax about protecting your skin.
“Any time there is light you need sunscreen. You may not get as bad a sunburn on cloudy days, but you will still be exposed to a lot of ultraviolet rays,” she says. “Even in the fall and winter when it’s much cooler outside, you still need to make sure to protect yourself from the sun.”
Get a body check every year to make sure there aren’t any unusual moles or skin lesions
“You should generally get checked once a year. It involves getting undressed so we can see as much as possible. We look them over closely, so we can help decide if something is suspicious,” she says. “If they do have something suspicious, we can do further testing. It’s a quick, easy procedure done in the office.”
For more information about protecting yourself from the sun get in touch with Harbin Clinic Dermatology today!