Sun-Safe Skin: Your Guide to Summer Skin Checks and Prevention

Sun-Safe Skin: Your Guide to Summer Skin Checks and Prevention

As summer rolls in, it’s essential to bolster your skin care routine so you can prevent sun damage and minimize breakouts. Heat, humidity, and the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays present a slew of skin challenges, which you can overcome by taking a few simple, practical steps. 

Our esteemed functional medicine and family medicine providers here at Monarque Health and Wellness Center in Ashland, Oregon, emphasize the importance of preventive care. 

Protecting your skin and regularly checking for changes are crucial components of a sun-safe summer. We can perform a comprehensive skin assessment to help identify potential skin issues and risk factors early. 

In between appointments, there are things you can do to support skin health during summer months.

UV exposure and skin health

UV radiation is the main factor responsible for skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma

While some sun exposure is beneficial for producing vitamin D, the body needs only about 15 minutes of sun exposure for this purpose. The sun’s ultraviolet rays damage skin cells, lead to skin aging, and increase the risk of skin cancer. 

Daily sun protection practices

Several daily practices can help minimize harmful exposure to UV rays:

Use broad-spectrum sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen is a crucial component of protecting your skin from sun damage. Opt for a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, and one that provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. 

Apply generously on all exposed skin, and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.

Wear protective clothing

Long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses provide barriers against the sun's rays. Look for clothing specially designed to block UV radiation for additional protection.

Seek shade

The sun's rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm. Try to schedule outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon, and use umbrellas or seek shade when you’re outdoors during peak hours.

Avoid tanning beds

Tanning beds are bad news for skin health. They emit harmful UV radiation that can boost your skin cancer risk. It’s best to avoid them to maintain healthy skin.

How to check your skin for signs of damage

Regular skin checks are vital for detecting early signs of skin damage and potential skin cancers. Here’s how to perform a thorough skin check:

Examine your entire body

Once a month, check your skin for any new moles, growths, or changes in existing moles. Use a full-length mirror and a handheld mirror to view areas that are hard to see, such as the back of your thighs, scalp, and back. 

Know what to look for

Follow the ABCDEs of melanoma when examining moles, watching for:

 If you notice anything suspicious, schedule a visit with us for a skin assessment.

Document any changes

Keep a record of the findings of your skin checks to track changes over time. Photographs are helpful for comparing and noting changes in skin lesions.

When to see a professional

If you notice any changes in your skin that concern you, such as a mole that changes in size, shape, or color, it’s important to see a health care professional. Our team offers skin cancer screenings and can provide guidance based on your specific skin needs. Early detection is key to treating skin cancer successfully.

Protecting your skin from the sun and regularly checking for signs of damage are essential steps in maintaining healthy skin, especially during the summer. By implementing these sun safety practices, you can enjoy sunny days while minimizing your risk of skin damage and skin cancer. 

For this and other skin health needs, contact us at Monarque Health and Wellness Center to request an appointment. We’re here to help you keep your skin healthy and protected year-round.

 

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