“Are you enjoying soaking up the sunshine this summer without applying sunscreen? If you are, then please take a few minutes to read my message about the importance of sunscreen,” shared Dr. Owen Vincent, Family Medicine Physician with Crossing Rivers Health Clinics. “Overexposure to the sun is dangerous. It means more than the risk of sunburn and premature wrinkling and aging of the skin. Getting too much sun can increase the risk of all skin cancers, especially melanoma - the cancer that is more likely to spread to other parts of the body, making it very difficult to treat.”
Dr. Vincent shares these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology for using sunscreen:
- Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher. (Make sure to check the expiration date as some of the ingredients may degrade over time.)
- Apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before you head out, even on cloudy days.
- Cover all exposed skin generously, including ears, back, shoulders, back of legs and lips.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every two or three hours.
Individuals are encouraged to reduce skin damage and the risk for skin cancer by following these tips:
- Seek the shade! Don’t stay out in direct sunlight for an extended period of time, especially when the sun’s rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Cover up! Dark colors and tightly woven fabrics offer the most protection. Don’t forget to wear a broad-brimmed hat.
- Avoid tanning and beds.
- Apply sunscreen with a high SPF.
“Are there medications that increase the risk of sun burns and damage? Yes, some medications may make the skin more susceptible to sun exposure,” explained Dr. Vincent. “Enjoy the outdoors, and do so with proper sun protection, especially when on boats and around pools, as the reflected sunlight off the water can cause skin damage too. There is no such thing as a healthy glow: even a mild sunburn destroys the top layer of your skin, so minimize sun exposure to maintain healthy skin. Remember, it is important to visit with your healthcare provider if you notice any blemish or mole that is changing, growing or bleeding. Skin cancer is often treatable when found early.”
Dr. Owen Vincent offers primary care dermatology (skins checks, biopsies, treatment of most skin cancers, and referrals to dermatology) in addition to general family medicine. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Owen Vincent, or one of the other providers at Crossing Rivers Health Clinics, call 608-357-2500. Learn more about the clinic by visiting crclinic.org.