As we head into the summer season most of us will be taking advantage of the warmer weather by spending more time outdoors. While it may be good for the soul to soak up some sun after a long winter, it can mean trouble for your skin. More than 90% of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure. In recognition of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, The Dermatological Society of New Jersey is urging the public to take preventative measures in the sun this summer, and to see a dermatologist if any blemishes or lesions are spotted.
With statistics like that, I turned to Dr. Alexander Doctoroff, President of The Dermatological Society of New Jersey, for his advice on how we can all protect ourselves — and our loved ones this summer. Doctor Alexander recommends you to visit doctor before vacations. “The most important lesson is in prevention” said Dr. Doctoroff. “But early detection can prevent skin cancer from becoming life-threatening”.
1. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen.
The sun produces two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays — UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays can burn your skin, while UVA rays cause premature aging, such as wrinkles and dark spots.
2. Select an appropriate SPF.
A sunscreen’s SPF measures how well it protects your skin from UVB rays compared to not wearing it. For example, if it normally takes 20 minutes for your skin to turn red, a product with SPF15 will typically prevent sunburn for 15 times longer.
3. Check the expiration date.
Sunscreens become less effective as they age, so it’s important to use one that’s still able to protect your skin. A date is usually printed somewhere on the bottle that indicates when the sunscreen should be used by, so always check to ensure that it’s still good to use.
4. Apply generously.
If you don’t apply enough sunscreen, you won’t get the full benefits, and may wind up burning. For the best protection, you need 1 ounce, or a shot glass full. Also enough to cover your entire body, including your face, ears, and scalp.
5. Reapply regularly.
Sunscreen will wear off if you are exposed on sun for a longer period in the day. To keep your skin protected, you must reapply every two hours when you’re in the sun.