Summer sun ultraviolets rays are a double-edged sword. At times, they give us a feeling of satisfaction and a desirable appearance, but also, they can represent a long-term threat to our skin’s health.
Summer is right around the corner, and high sun exposure comes with it. Although they are sometimes imperceptible, skin damages caused by sun’s ultraviolet rays might be detrimental to people’s skin health. Such is the case of skin cancer, a very common type of cancer whose primary cause is sun exposure.
Skin cancer might be successfully treated if detected on time. However, there are some techniques we can apply when avoiding to develop this disease.
Avoiding skin damage in summer times
Considering the recent high rates of skin cancer, the Erie County Department of Health presented some guidelines to prevent skin damage in summer times.
According to Dr. Bryan Harris, of Lehman Dermatology Clinic, the best skin’s buddy is sunscreen. However, it is not enough to use a good sunscreen, we have to use it in proper quantities with specific techniques to keep our skin out of sun damage.
“Make sure it’s broad spectrum UVA & UVB. And then the thing a lot of patients may not do correctly is, make sure you put it on before you go outside, maybe 30 minutes before you’re out, and if you’re out at the pool or swimming be sure and re-apply it, maybe even every hour, at least every 2 hours if you’re not getting too wet or if you’re not toweling off,” said Harris.
In addition to Harri’s advises, the Erie County Department of Health also stated that it is recommended to seek the shade regularly, especially during the sun’s peak hours (10 a.m. and four p.m.).
It is also advisable to cover up with clothing. Broad-Brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses should be included in people’s outfit when going to the beach, countryside or when going out during a sunny day.
In general terms, people should incorporate into their daily routine a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15. Nevertheless, those who work at outdoor, and consequently are highly exposed to sun damage, must use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher with water-resistant properties. It is important also to apply at least an ounce of sunscreen. Some people only put on little amounts of sunscreen for one day and the skin becomes eventually expose to UV rays.
It is critical to be generous when applying sunscreen before going out. Proper sun protection is essential year-round due to the constant presence of sun’s ultraviolet rays. It has been proved that skin cancer is highly linked to sun exposure. The effectiveness of sunscreens, though, depends on proper sun protection regimes when preventing sun damages.
Professional skin cares
Even if the most common factor to develop skin cancer is exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, some other aspects might contribute to the appearance of skin cancer.
Regarding this point, Dr. Harris says that certain antibiotics might interfere of UV ray the body absorbs. This occurs because antibiotics can lead to cause more sun sensitivity. As appropriate, Harris recommends consulting doctors to be aware of putting on or not, extra sunscreen. It has also been proved that some drugs and chemicals could decrease skin resistance. This is why it is important to know when the components of some medications might lead to high sun exposure.
Another common factor in skin cancer development is tanning beds. According to the Erie County Department of Health, tanning is profoundly harmful to skin health. The tanning process occurs when the skin tries to repair itself from UV damage from the sun or tanning lamps, which means that those who boast of having the “perfect” tan, they have rather sustained skin cell damage. As a consequence, the effects of skin cell damages might result in gene defects that can lead to skin cancer, as well as wrinkles, leathery skin, skin aging and age spots. So, people should immediately stop getting tans. The practice represents significant risks of developing skin damages or diseases. What is even worst, just one visit to tanning beds before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.
Further on, annual visits to the dermatologist office for a professional skin exam is also necessary. Skin cancer has become lately more common, but it has also registered high rates of successful treatments. If detected early, this type of cancer might be entirely treatable. Annual skin exam performed by dermatologists can be lifesaving. Also, performing routine self-exams might be helpful and critical to detect skin cancer on time.
Keeping in mind that professional annual skin exams might detect cancerous tumors on time, we can also contribute to the process if we examine our skin monthly for any apparent new changing or suspicious lesions.
“Early detection is vital in the fight against skin cancer, so everyone should regularly perform skin self-exams. If you notice any irregular spots on your skin, or anything changing, itching or bleeding, see a dermatologist,” said the Erie County Health Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein.