During this time of year, people love to be out in the sun, enjoying the warmth and having fun at the beach or the pool or doing other outdoor activities. It’s great for the soul, but sometimes can be harsh on the skin.
We asked Dr. Michael Stickler and the team at Dermatology Specialists of Florida to share some tips on how to keep your skin safe during a day of fun in the sun.
When you are out in the sun, what are the best ways to protect and care for your skin?
Most importantly, wear sunscreen. Sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Sunscreen alone is not fully protective, though. Try wearing sun-protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. (Speaking of wide-brimmed hats, check out this one from 30Agear!)
Also, staying hydrated is always important for the skin, but especially when you’re spending time in the sun.
What are a few beach bag essentials for protecting and caring for your skin?
Make sure your beach bag contains plenty of sunscreen, SPF lip balm, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and water to stay hydrated.
What ingredients are important in choosing the right sunscreen?
You want to choose a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum coverage for UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning rays) with an SPF of 30 or greater. Of course, make sure your sunscreen is up to date and not expired. It’s also important to know that water-resistant sunscreens still have to be reapplied regularly, as heavy perspiration, water and towel-drying remove the sunscreen’s protective layer.
What is the best way to apply sunscreen?
Apply sunscreen (SPF of 30 or higher) about 15 to 20 minutes before going out. This will give enough time for the sunscreen to be absorbed. Typically, about one ounce (the size of a shot glass) is enough to cover sun-exposed areas. You want enough sunscreen to fully cover all areas which will not be covered by clothing. Do not forget your lips and ears! You need to reapply at least every two hours, more so if you are sweating or in the water.
How effective are spray-on sunscreens versus lotions?
As long as your sunscreen is broad-spectrum with an SPF of 30 or greater, spray-on sunscreen meets the recommendations. The downfall to spray-on sunscreens is that it is difficult to know exactly how much you are putting on. Most of the time these sunscreens are clear, which leads to missed areas. Also, the wind may affect how much of the sunscreen actually makes it on your skin.
Is there any way to reverse or heal skin damage from the sun?
Unfortunately, there is no reversing the damage which has already been done. However, you can help to prevent this damage by following the recommendations mentioned. Most skin cancers are highly treatable if caught early. Make sure you see a dermatologist yearly for a thorough skin exam.
What is the best way to treat a sunburn?
Cool baths help with the heat from a burn. After the bath, pat dry and apply a gentle, unscented lotion all over the affected areas. You will want to avoid the sun during this time. Make sure to drink extra water to stay hydrated. Of course, if you experience blisters covering large portions of your body, fevers, chills, etc., you should seek medical attention.
Any tips for treating razor burn?
The key is preventing razor burn! Shave in the direction the hair grows and never dry shave. Use warm, soapy water, and change out your razor often to make sure it is clean and sharp. Exfoliating before shaving also helps to prevent razor burn.
How can I reduce my risk for skin cancer?
Follow these tips to protect your skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure:
• Apply sunscreen when you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days. Use one ounce of sunscreen and don’t forget the top of your feet, your neck, ears and the top of your head.
• Seek shade. Remember that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
• Protect your skin with clothing. When going outside wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants and a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
• Use extra caution near water, sand or snow as they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun.
• Get Vitamin D safely by eating a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich vitamin D or take Vitamin D supplements.
• If you want to look tan, use a self-tanning product but continue to use sunscreen with it. Don’t use tanning beds!
• Check your skin for signs of skin cancer. Checking your skin and knowing your moles are key to detecting skin cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages. Visit a dermatologist for regular skin scans and if you spot anything changing, growing or blessed, see a dermatologist as soon as possible.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michael Stickler along with certified physician assistants Heather Presisser (pre-sir) and Kristi Wells with Dermatology Specialists of Florida are conveniently located at 82 Mack Bayou Loop, right next to Grand Boulevard.