If you’re like many Americans, after more than a year of COVID-19 travel restrictions, you’re…
No doubt, the past few months of lockdown have been challenging for everyone.
But as lockdowns lift and you begin to spend more time on the lake, at the beach or enjoying other outdoor activities, don’t throw caution to the wind when it comes to taking care of your skin.
“Summer can be the most dangerous time of the year for your skin,” cautions Richard Price, M.D. of Price Skin Care Clinic of Ridgeland, MS. “It’s easy to overdo it, damage your skin and suffer sunburns – or worse. I encourage my patients to enjoy their fun in the sun while maintaining sun safety skin habits.”
With that in mind, here are Dr. Price’s ‘Top Tips for Summer Sun Safety’:
#1. Sunscreen: Don’t Leave Home Without It
Sunscreen is your greatest ally in keeping your skin safe from the summer sun. That’s because the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays are your worst enemy. The more your skin is exposed to the sun, the more you put yourself at risk for damaging sunburns and even skin cancer.
So, don’t leave home without it and use it this way:
• Keep a stash of sunscreen with you at all times. When going outdoors, apply to all exposed skin from head to toe: including ears, lips, neck, hands and feet.
• Make sure your sunscreen is broad-spectrum, water-resistant and has an SPF rating of 30 or higher.
• Reapply every two hours after swimming or sweating.
#2. Cover Up With Clothes and Eyewear
Sunscreen may be your greatest ally when it comes to skin cancer prevention, but it’s not your only one. Even if you use the most powerful sunscreen you can find, no sunscreen can block all of the sun’s rays.
So make sure when you leave the house that you wear:
• Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants
• Sunglasses with UV protection.
• A wide-brimmed hat
Note: For men, Dr. Price recommends PFG (Professional Fishing Gear) clothing made by Columbia Sportswear Company. Shirts made by PFG have the look of a standard button-down shirt but come with features such as side vents to provide breathability and fabric that blocks ultraviolet rays.
#3. Keep It Shady
Another friend to your skin is shade. The sun’s rays are most harmful to your skin from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. So when possible, stay indoors or in the shade during these hours. If you have to go out, use an umbrella to block the sun or a wide-brimmed hat.
#4: Limit Your Time in the Sun
Even with a SPF of 30, it’s not safe to stay out in the sun for more than a few hours. Sunscreens don’t provide total protection from ultraviolet rays. Be conservative when exposing your skin to the sun and err on the safe side. Be especially cautious during mid-day, when the sun’s rays are fiercest.
#5: Beware of False Friends: Water, Sand and Snow
Water, sand and snow can be false friends when it comes to the sun’s harmful rays. Just because you don’t feel the sun’s harmful rays doesn’t mean they aren’t there and damaging your skin. Take extra precautions when you are around water, sand and snow.
Tip #6: Don’t Cloud Your Judgment
Just because it’s cloudy doesn’t mean the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays aren’t burning through the clouds into your skin. Make sure you are using at least a 15 SPF sunscreen, whether the sun is shining or the clouds are hovering.
#7: Ban the Tan
Tanning is one of the worst things you can do to your skin. Whether you’re tanning indoors using a tanning bed or outdoors in the sun, this practice can lead to wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. If you want brown skin, ban the tan and use a self-tanning product instead.
#8: If You See Something, Say Something
The good news about skin cancer is that when found early, it’s highly treatable.
That’s why you should conduct regular skin self-exams. If you see something new or suspicious – or anything that changes, itches or bleeds, see a skin doctor immediately. You are your first line of defense in protecting yourself from skin cancer.
#9: Have a Professional Skin Screening Once a Year
Even if you perform regular skin self-exams, you should still see your skin doctor once a year for a professional screening. A skin doctor is trained in what to look for and will look at every inch of your skin to ensure that it’s healthy.
Respect the Sun and Protect Your Skin
The best way to protect your skin is to respect the sun. Just because you don’t feel the sun’s harmful rays, doesn’t mean they aren’t doing damage. Practice these nine safe sun habits and you can still enjoy the outdoors while keeping your skin safe and cancer-free.
Come See Us!
If you haven’t had your annual skin exam yet this year or have a place on your skin that you’re concerned about, you can make an appointment with Dr. Price by calling (601) 992-3996.