By: Amy Kim, MD
Adopt sun protection into your routine before enjoying outdoor activities. Overexposure to the sun causes the skin to wrinkle, sag and become leathery because it breaks down the connective tissues. It damages blood vessels and, most importantly, increases the chances of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. Check the UV (ultraviolet) index in your area before leaving the house and prepare accordingly so you won’t doom your skin to premature aging and worse. The doctors at MetroDerm P.C. in Atlanta, GA, hope this friendly reminder and these handy tips will encourage everyone to be mindful of the sun’s negative effects.
Bear in Mind
• Every skin type is vulnerable to the harmful effects of the sun. However, individuals with light-colored hair and blue or green eyes should be particularly careful when it comes to sunbathing.
• Before summer activities begin, be sure to read the labels on all of your medications, as some prescriptions can increase skin sensitivity to light. When in doubt, call the pharmacist, who will be able to give you the most up-to-date information on drug sensitivities and side effects.
• Infants and small children are particularly at risk for sunburn. They should be well-protected from the sun at all times.
Understand the Adverse Effects
Overexposure to the sun actually causes the skin to burn:
• A first-degree burn causes redness. The skin feels hot and tender, and it’s warm to the touch.
• A second-degree burn, in addition to the signs of the 1st-degree burn, causes small, fluid-filled blisters that may itch.
• A third-degree burn is severely red and/or the skin may be discolored and look almost bruised. Blisters are apparent and the sunburn victim may have chills, fever, headache, nausea or vomiting. Severe sunburns also cause dehydration.
Besides burns, some individuals suffer from sun poisoning, which is actually an allergic reaction to the sun. The symptoms of sun poisoning are similar to those of a 2nd- or 3rd-degree burn but last longer than typical sunburn reactions. Forgetting about your skin can also lead to skin cancer or other terrible conditions.
Don’t Put Your Skin in Jeopardy
• Reduce your exposure to the sun. Do not go out when the sun is strongest, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Use sunscreen with a protection factor SPF of 30 or above and apply every 2 hours while out in the sun.
• Make sure the product blocks UVA & UVB radiation. It should have a minimum 4-star ranking for UVA protection.
• Protect your skin even on cloudy days.
• Be generous with the sunscreen and cover every part of the body.
• Do not use tanning beds.
• Reapply sunscreen after coming out of the water or sweating even if the bottle says “water-resistant.”
• Wear a hat to protect your scalp, face and neck.
• If you are super-sensitive, look into sun-blocking shirts and other articles of clothing available online.
When to Visit the Doctor
If you are experiencing the effects of a 2nd- or 3rd-degree burn, you may need to call MetroDerm P.C., as blisters can become infected and antibiotics may be needed. Sustained pain can indicate damage to the underlying nerves and subcutaneous tissue. Dehydration can have a number of bad effects. A visit to the doctor will put you on the right course to survive your sunburn experience.
MetroDerm P.C. is a full-service dermatological practice that includes specialists and highly- trained surgeons. The professional providers there can handle everything from diagnosing dermatitis to performing Mohs surgery on skin cancer. Dr. Papadopoulos and his team welcome new patients and look forward to helping them get relief from their dermatological concerns. They have conveniently located offices to serve patients from all over the metro Atlanta area, including Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Roswell, Marietta, Lilburn, Tucker, Lawrenceville, Doraville, Dunwoody, Dallas and Hiram. Make an appointment today if you’re ready to get on the road to good skin health.
Details: MetroDerm, P.C. • www.metroderm.org • (404) 257-9933