Summer is just around the corner, and that means more time outside enjoying all that Atlanta has to offer. But summer sun can damage unprotected skin, and here in the South, we receive a higher amount of UV radiation than in many other parts of the country.
Skin cancer is considered a “lifestyle disease,” meaning our choices are often what lead to its appearance. In fact, a shocking 90% of non- melanoma and 65% of melanoma skin cancers come from sun exposure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have summer fun outside. Follow these tips to safeguard your skin and reduce your risk:
Seek The Shade
The number one thing you can do to protect your skin is to avoid the sun! Look for shade, especially during the hours of 10am-4pm, when UV radiation is most intense.
Wear Densely-Woven Clothes
Not all clothing is created equal when it comes to sun protection. Thin and sheer fabrics allow UV rays to penetrate, while opaque, dense and non-bleached cottons absorb and polyesters reflect.
Make sure your sunscreen offers broad spectrum UVA/UVB coverage, and check the Sun Protection Factor (SPF). An SPF of 30 with zinc oxide will protect against 97% of harmful rays. Increasing to SPF 50 only increases protection by one percent, but may mean introducing extra, unnecessary chemicals to your skin.
Keep Up The Coverage
Apply one shot glass of sunscreen to your entire body before going out. Re-apply every two hours after swimming or sweating.
Leave No Part Exposed
Most of us remember to cover our face, back, chest and legs when we are out in the sun. But when we are going about our daily routine, we forget our neck and hands—two areas that are very prone to sun damage and can give away our age in an instant.
Hide Your Eyes
Wear 100% UVA/UVB absorbent or UV400 sunglasses (and goggles when swimming). Be wary of cheap sunglasses that may falsely advertise they block all dangerous rays. They don’t.
Kristina Price, MD, is the medical director of OPAL Aesthetics and a board- certified ophthalmologist specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive oculoplastics. Dr. Price earned her medical doctorate from the Emory University School of Medicine. She is a member of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, American Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and American Medical Association.
OPAL Aesthetics • www.opalatlanta.com • 404.953.4023