When the sun comes out, so does the skin. In warmer weather, people of all ages hit the beach, the park and the other places for fun in the sun. With more time outdoors and more skin exposed to the sun, it is important to protect the skin, particularly from skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer with 5.4 million new cases a year.
Staying out of the sun is nearly impossible in beautiful Florida weather, so here’s how to keep your skin healthy at every age.
1. Wear sunscreen the right way.
Since 1979, The Skin Cancer Foundation has recommended using a sunscreen to protect the skin. However, you must do more than just a few squirts in the morning. For daily use, make sure that you are using a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more. When you have a day of extended outdoor activities, reach for a water-resistant, broad –spectrum sunscreen with an SPF above 30.
When you apply the sunscreen, use two tablespoons on your body 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours, and immediately after swimming and sweating. Don’t forget the ears, hands, feet and under the arms.
2. Cover Up
If you are outside, seek out the shade, especially during the sun’s peak hours. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the sun is at its highest, so be extra considerate of your skin during that time.
Additionally, protect your skin with clothing. UV-blocking sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and lightweight cover-ups can go a long way to keeping your skin healthy.
3. Frequent Checks and Early Detection
Begin performing regular self-checks. Thoroughly examine your skin from top to bottom once a month. Stand in front of a mirror (naked) and use a hand mirror to check out those hidden areas. Make sure to check your hands, fingernails, the back of your body, and your scalp. Melanomas and carcinomas can show up anywhere.
Once a year, schedule a visit with a physician for a professional skin exam.
What to do
If you happen to be diagnosed with skin cancer, there are options. Board-certified plastic surgeons at the UF Health Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics Center perform surgery to remove skin cancer. Since skin cancer can spread, surgery is often the most effective treatment.
Most skin cancer surgery is minimally invasive and has a high rate of success. However, it is normal to have questions and concerns before any surgical procedure. Our skin cancer surgeons understand this and will be happy to answer any questions you have about your procedure, treatment, recovery and prognosis.
Call 352.265.8402 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.