Wellness

Summer Skin Safety

Summer Skin Safety

 

  Nothing can brighten your spirits more than a relaxing afternoon out in the sunshine. Just be sure you respect the power of the sun, and what it can do to your skin.

   Most people know that they should wear sunscreen, but you might be surprised by what doctors say about how and when to protect yourself from the sun's harmful UV rays. Dr. Colleen Crandell of Southern Tier Dermatology in Elmira says that, in our area, you should wear sunscreen outdoors between March 1st and November 1st. Even on cloudy days UV rays can penetrate, so a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 is a good idea anytime you're going to be outside. Exposure is cumulative, so even if you're outside only ten minutes a day, that adds up to over an hour of UV exposure per week. Use a waterproof sunscreen and reapply it often, especially if you're active, because perspiration can wear sunscreen off. Protective clothing and headgear helps too, but be wary of loose-weave clothes like linen, you could sunburn right through them.

   Dr. Crandell recommends that you do a skin check on yourself at least once a year. Look for any new growths or moles, or check to see if existing moles are changing shape or color. These are some warning signs that tell you when it's time to see a dermatologist, along with growths that itch or are tender, or ones that bleed or scab. Be especially vigilant if there is a history of skin cancer in your family, or if you're fair-skinned. More that one million new skin cancer cases are reported every year, but only a small percentage of those are the more serious melanomas. If you teach your kids to be sun smart early, they can still enjoy a sunny day and you all can avoid the premature aging and other serious effects of UV exposure.

Contributor:

Southern Tier Dermatology

950 County Rd. 64, Suite 100

Elmira, NY

(607) 765-5900