by Jeffrey Houin, M.D.
Jeffrey Houin, M.D., is a dermatologist at the Dermatology Center of North Mississippi, PA in Tupelo. He has been practicing for 25 years. He graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1992 and specializes in dermatology.
Spring is here and summer is quickly approaching. After being confined indoors because of winter (or COVID) we are all ready to get outside and enjoy this beautiful time of year. While it is tempting to get outside to work on that tan, smart skin care will keep your skin safe and healthy for years to come. Whether we like to admit it or not, sunlight causes skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., but it is also one of the most preventable cancers. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and nearly 20 Americans die from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, every day. Dermatologists recommend three easy steps to protect your skin: seek shade, dress to protect yourself from the sun and use sunscreen to protect skin that isn’t covered by clothing.
Sunlight is most intense between 10:00 a.m and 2:00 p.m. Our skin is especially vulnerable to the sun’s damaging rays during the middle of the day. This is when shade can help to shield us from these harmful rays and keep us cool at the same time.
Clothing has come a long way over the last few years, as far as sun protection is concerned. It’s easy to find attractive, lightweight clothing that is comfortable to wear during the warmer months. Long sleeves and long pants aren’t always thought of as summer wear, but both should be considered as a sun-safe option. Wide-brimmed hats protect our ears, neck, and faces. Sunglasses aren’t just for looking cool – they protect our eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation can lead to cataracts and cause melanoma inside of the eye.
Apply sunscreen to all skin that clothing won’t cover. A broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher should be applied every two hours.
Remember sunlight will reflect off of water, snow and even light-colored surfaces, such as sidewalks and decks. If you are at higher altitudes, you are much closer to the sun than you are at sea level. This makes the rays more intense and damaging to the skin.
Sunless tanners and spray tans can help you achieve the look you want without subjecting yourself to damage and aging effects of the sun.
Be skin smart and you’ll be able to enjoy many summers to come!