After a long winter and overcast spring here in the midwest, the glorious sunshine of summer is a welcome sight. Nothing looks and feels quite like the warmth of sunlight on your skin. Thus, there is often the temptation to reveal our bare skin to the damaging rays of the sun with abandon. As a dermatologist in Belleville, IL we know the temptation to bask in the sun can be difficult to resist. However, by following a few simple rules, you can enjoy the warmth of the summer sun while mitigating the risks that come along with it.
Depending upon different skin types and other risk factors, skin cancer is one of the most frightening and, unfortunately, common diseases known to man. Plus, skin cancer, like most other cancers has the ability to grow and change form, to cause illness and ultimately death.
With this in mind, treat the sun with respect and you can reduce your risk of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma) due to sun exposure.
The sun is shining most intensely between the hours of 10am and 2pm. Knowing this should make you aware that these are the hours when your skin is at the most risk of being damaged.
Choose “alternate” hours to head out to the pool. If you like to go to a public pool you will likely also notice that this is the span of time when the pool is the most crowded. Why not leave the crowds between these hours and head inside for a siesta or a long lunch?
Then, when the crowd thins out, after 2pm, head back out to enjoy a less dangerous exposure to the sun’s rays and a quieter, more serene atmosphere with less people vying for precious pool space.
Sunglasses not only make you look tres cool, the best designed sunglasses also protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them as a form of UV sun protection. Your eyes are among the most sensitive parts of your body and should be treated as such. Plus, this thin, sensitive skin is one of the places where aging shows up first and is most dramatic.
No one wants the wrinkles that come from aging and sun exposure, so cover up and protect your eyes. Do your research and find a good pair of sunglasses and wear them whenever you step outside. Your outside experience will drastically improve with less squinting, less headaches and your skin will thank you.
A great sun hat is more than just a style statement, it’s sun protection for some of the most sensitive parts of your body: your forehead, ears, shoulders and face.
Pick out a great looking hat that’s going to be your Summer Statement and wear it. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing hats and other sun protective clothing as a method of protecting you from the various common types of skin cancer.
The best sunscreens out there pamper your skin by keeping skin hydrated, protected and healthy. So, choose a high SPF lotion, stock up and wear it. Many brands now offer protection from less dangerous skin conditions such as dry skin.
Other than a healthy immune system, a good sunscreen is probably the best investment for sun protection that you can make. Remember, high SPF numbers mean better protection. And don’t forget that you still need protection on cloudy and cool days because they can be deceptively dangerous to your skin.
Lastly, don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen especially after swimming or activity.
Knowing your own body and periodically examining it is a great way to stay healthy. Like other types of cancer, a self-exam can often be effective forms of early detection. If you find any discolored or odd-shaped skin growths talk to your doctor. It might help you detect cancer early and be on your way to diagnosis and treatment.
If you have any questions and want to speak to a dermatologist who practices skin cancer treatment in Belleville, Illinois, don’t hesitate to call us to schedule an appointment. 618-397-6605