Safety Under the Sun

Image CaptionWith the summer months upon us and the urge to lay out at the beach growing stronger by the day, proper protection from the sun is increasingly important.

Protection from sunburns can go a long way to prevent certain types of melanoma down the line.

It is important for everyone to prepare for sun exposure, especially if the person plans to be out in the sun for any extended period of time.

People with fair complexions have to be especially careful, Dasgupta said, and outdoor activities between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. require special protection.

Even on cloudy days, it is important to protect your skin if you are going to be outdoors because UV radiation can pass through clouds and cause problems.  “If you are on a reflective surface like sand, snow, cement or water, you will notice that you burn more easily so it is important to use sunscreen.

It is recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30 that protects against a full range of UV radiation.

You need to apply sunscreen generously to all exposed skin about 30 minutes prior to exposure.  You need to apply it liberally, about two tablespoons worth as needed on the arms, legs and face, and more on the chest and back.

But that first application shouldn’t be the only application..

When a person sweats and dries off with a towel or after swimming, the sunscreen wears off so it needs to be replenished. It has been said that you should apply it before you go out, and within 20 minutes, you should apply it again so you have covered up any area that may have been left behind. Then, you should reapply every two to three hours.

In addition to reducing sun exposure, all patients to see their primary care physician for regular skin checks. Primary care doctors can conduct skin exams and direct you to the right physician if any follow-up work needs to be done.

Skin pigmentation doesn’t necessarily mean a patient has skin cancer, but it is better to have your skin examined regularly to ensure we can treat potentially cancerous spots if they arise. Melanoma is a surgical disease, so the earlier we can catch it, the better chance we have in treating it.

To take the summer sun exposure quiz, click here