Sun protection do's and don'ts
BROWNSVILLE (NEWS CENTER 23) — Summer is upon us, just one day away.
This means we all want to have that great skin tone and body tone to rock our bathing suits on the beach.
But exposing your skin too much to the sun is very unhealthy.
Did you know: Exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light from tanning beds can cause several damages to the skin, including wrinkles, sun spots or freckles.
And for one in every five Americans, this exposure can lead to skin cancer, according to American Society for Dermatology Surgery.
Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe this summer.
- Do reduce sun exposure.
The best approach to lower skin cancer risk is to minimize time in the sun especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Wear sunglasses and protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves and pants.
- Do use sunscreen no less than SPF 30 with both UVA and UVB protection every day, and avoid artificial tanning devices.
- Do recognize the ABCDE's of moles and melanoma.
During a self-exam, look for the following key warning signs: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variability, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser and Evolving or changing moles.
- Do visit a dermatological surgeon if you notice a suspicious mole or lesion.
Many people simply visit their primary care doctor for skin issues.
However, it is important to realize that a physician who does not specialize in skin-related diseases may have limited experience in treating skin cancer, therefore placing your diagnosis in question and your overall outcome at risk.
Most skin cancer is 100 percent treatable if detected early.
- Do hydrate
Burns do more to your body than just cause pain.
In fact, all burns draw fluid towards the skin and away from the rest of the body.
So be sure to drink extra water, juice and sports drinks for a couple days and keep an eye out for any signs of dehydration.
- Don’t ignore the signs of skin cancer.
Sometimes what people may perceive as an annoying sore that won’t go away, or a mole that has changed in size or color, is really something more serious and possibly an early form of skin cancer.
A visit to a dermatological surgeon should be scheduled if any abnormal moles are discovered.
An annual skin cancer screening is necessary to identify cancer in its early stages.
- Don’t forego a professional medical evaluation.
Many people may experience complications from an unqualified practitioner's treatment recommendations, which may include removing an "innocent" freckle (that may in fact be cancerous) with laser resurfacing or microdermabrasion, possibly delaying appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Because some forms of skin cancer can be mistaken for freckles or moles, its best to always consult a dermatological surgeon before undergoing any elective cosmetic procedure.
- Don't scratch, peel, or exfoliate your skin
Scratching at and peeling your burn is a nasty habit that actually makes it more difficult for your skin to heal evenly and efficiently. Instead, let the flaking skin fall off naturally.
Even better, generously moisturize your skin with the product of your choice, this will improve the appearance of the sunburn and help the skin to exfoliate naturally and evenly.
Similarly, your skin is too sensitive during this time to be exposed to any sort of exfoliation or products that contain glycolic acid, retinoids or salicyclic acid.
After you’re done peeling, wait another three days to allow your skin to completely heal before using these products.
- Don't pop your blisters
Popping any blisters caused by sunburn increases your risk of infection.
If a blister ruptures naturally, don’t remove the top layer of skin.
It helps protect the new, sensitive skin underneath and will eventually come off on its own.
Instead, apply some antibacterial ointment, keep it clean, and cover it with a bandage.
If left alone, blisters generally heal without scarring in about a week and a half.
Stay safe this summer!