Posted June 28, 2017
Summertime means fun in the sun. Sun safety is about making good decisions for yourself and those around you while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
Effects of long-term sun exposure
Prolonged sun exposure has been shown to be associated with hyperpigmentation and texture issues. The development of fine lines and premature aging as well as all types of skin cancers (basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma) are also the result of prolonged sun exposure. The damage to our skin is cumulative, which means that for many of us we are battling our neglect of sun protection since our childhood. Sunscreen is the number one defense against further sun damage to our skin.
What sunscreen works for you?
There are multiple brands, strengths and types of sunscreens found in today’s market. It is recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and if you have fair skin to increase it to an SPF of 45-50. Be sure it is effective against UVA and UVB rays as both can cause premature aging and cancer. For the sunscreen to be effective it must be applied correctly. Sunscreen can take at least 20-30 minutes to create a protective barrier therefore it must be applied a minimum of 20-30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Studies have shown that the sun can create a sunburn within 15 minutes of sun exposure. For many of us that put our sunscreen on once we are already out in the sun, the damage has already begun before the sunscreen has even had a chance to take effect. It should be reapplied every 2-3 hours and after swimming, sweating or any other physical activity.
Any product that contains zinc oxide in its formula provides better protection as the zinc oxide acts as a barrier and not just a chemical for protection. Hats, sunglasses and special clothing can also be effective in protecting the skin from sun damage.
Take the right steps for healthy skin
As a precautionary measure, Dr. Antimarino would recommend a yearly skin evaluation by a board-certified dermatologist. If any biopsies would then need to be performed, Dr. Antimarino would suggest having them done by a board certified plastic surgeon to help minimize scarring.