Now that summer is around the corner, enjoying the sun and outdoor activities is likely top of mind. Often, what isn’t top of mind is what that time in the sun can do to your skin. Unprotected skin in the summer sun is susceptible to sunspots, wrinkles, premature aging, and, most importantly, skin cancer.
No matter what age you are, and no matter what time of year it is, preventing skin cancer should be part of your daily skincare routine. Luckily, it’s easier than you may think to implement proper protection against the sun. Here’s how!
Whether it’s summer or winter, applying sunscreen to your face after cleansing it in the morning is essential to sun protection. Since skin cancer signs are often found on the forehead and nose, sunscreen application to these areas, as well as the rest of your face, is essential. Dermatologists also recommend applying sunscreen to your neck, chest, and other parts of your body that aren’t covered with clothing during peak sun hours (10am - 4pm).
In the summer, you’ll want to apply sunscreen all over your body as best as possible since the sun is capable of penetrating through clothing. If you are spending a lot of time in the direct sunlight, you should invest in sunscreen of SPF 50+ and reapply every two hours or as soon as you’re done sweating or swimming. Protective clothing and wide brim hats are another easy way to protect yourself from the sun.
One of the biggest reasons sunscreen doesn’t make it into one’s skincare routine is that it can be difficult to find one that works for your skin type. Especially in younger people, sunscreen can cause acne when it clogs the pores, especially on an active person.
For those with dry skin, some sunscreens can do the opposite and dry the skin out. Speak with a dermatologist to decide what will work best for your skin. Finding a moisturizer with SPF 30+ is a great first step.
If you have skin conditions like psoriasis, you may find it frustrating to find the right sunscreen, but also know that wearing it is essential to mitigating flare-ups. Your dermatologist will likely have brands on hand that can be tailored to your exact needs while protecting your skin from other issues.
In addition to taking daily precautions against skin cancer with proper sunscreen application, clothing choices, and avoiding the sun during peak hours, it is recommended to see a dermatologist for a skin screening yearly if you are over 40 years old. If you are high-risk (i.e., used tanning beds before 20, have light skin and eyes, have relatives who were diagnosed with skin cancer, etc.), you can begin going before 40. Patients over 20 are encouraged to get a skin screening every 1-3 years.
Whether you’re 20 or 60, it’s a good idea to get an annual skin cancer screening. Catching skin cancer early almost guarantees survival, so why wait? If you’re in the greater Cincinnati area, contact us today for your screening and to speak with a dermatologist about your skincare needs.