Summertime Tips to Prevent Skin Cancer and Other Sun-Related Skin Issues

Summertime is all about sunshine, but the sun’s rays can wreak havoc on your skin. How can you enjoy your outdoor activities without putting your skin at risk?

At Sterling Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, Dr. Mark Mathieson constantly reminds patients to protect themselves against the damaging rays of the sun. Skin cancer prevention can save lives, and sun protection is the first step in avoiding many uncomfortable or life-threatening skin conditions. 

Sunscreen 101

If you are like most Americans, you don’t follow through with best practices when it comes to sunscreen. Follow these tips to ensure you are protecting your skin right from the start:

Use the correct sunscreen

First, find the best sunscreen. Select a bottle, tube, or heavy spray with broad-spectrum ultraviolet (UV) ray protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 or more. Go higher if you are going to be outdoors when the sun is at its zenith, if you are fair-skinned, or if skin cancer has affected you or a family member.

Use enough sunscreen

A shot-glass size of sunscreen lotion is about the right amount, but most people use less than half that. If you apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before you leave the house, you can get the right amount of sunscreen well rubbed in and absorbed so you are protected when you step outside.

Use sunscreen properly

Far too many people end up with severe sun damage on the tops of their ears, the tops of their feet, and the backs of their knees. Don’t miss these spots when you are slathering up. And remember to take your sunscreen with you because you need to reapply it every two hours — or more often if you get wet from swimming or sweating.

Additional tips for sun protection

The sun is at its most ferocious between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, even if it’s overcast outside. Stay inside during peak hours, or reapply sunscreen and add more coverups like a hat, a scarf, long sleeves, pants, and proper shoes. Don’t forget UV protection-rated sunglasses, and invest in SPF 30 lip balm. 

You could be at increased risk for sun damage if you have had an aesthetic procedure or if you take certain types of medication. Your skin is more vulnerable if you’ve recently had laser hair removal, skin resurfacing, or skin tightening. You also need to be extra careful to guard against the sun if you are on certain antibiotics, antifungals, blood pressure medications, chemotherapy drugs, or acne medications.  

If you have a skin condition aggravated by the sun, such as rosacea, or get a bad sunburn, ask us for advice on treatment and future prevention, call Sterling Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at 941- 208-6696 to book a consultation.

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