May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. With that in mind, I wanted to take a minute and talk with you about your skin and the sun. Getting some ole’ vitamin D is important so I will never tell you to stay inside on a gorgeous sunny day! Instead, I want to give you some information to help protect your skin and educate you on what can be done if you do experience over exposure, so let’s dig in.
The first step to safety in the summer sun, is SPF. If you’ve been a client of mine for a while, you know I always talk about the importance of wearing SPF every day. This is especially important in the summer when we’re outside more.
The FDA says you should wear a minimum of 15 SPF to protect your skin against skin cancer and sunburn. I say 30 daily. Why? Well for one, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends 30 SPF over 15. And two, the higher the SPF the more protection, so to me, wearing at least 30 SPF is a no brainer.
The best thing to do is apply an SPF to your face as part of your daily skin care routine. If you don’t want to use SPF as a standalone product there are many ways to AAD it into your daily skin care routine. I have moisturizers with SPF and there are also some makeup that has built in SPF. If you need help finding the right, SPF contact me.
The above was just about your face!
When you’re in the sun and more of your body is exposed, remember to:
- Wear a hat and/or sunglasses to protect your face.
- Wear protective clothing whenever possible.
- Apply sunscreen to entire body before sun exposure.
- Limit the time spent directly in the sun.
- Reapply your sunscreen every few hours and more frequently if you’re enjoying the water.
- Wear sunscreen night and day even if the sun isn’t out!
What do I do if I get a sunburn?
If you get a sun burn, start treating it as soon as possible. A cool bath can help reduce the heat. Then be sure you are moisturizing your skin like crazy! Sunburns can cause your skin to dry out and your skin needs the moisture to repair itself. It will also help ease some of the discomfort from the burn itself. Take aspirin or ibuprofen if you need and drink A LOT of water.
Lastly, try to avoid any harsh products and additional sun exposure until you’re healed.
Spotting Skin Cancer
According to the AAD, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. That is a pretty high number so the best thing you can do, is take the precautions mentioned above and be diligent about wearing your sunscreen. Then, monitor your skin often. If you notice changes to your skin, you develop a mole or you notice changes to an existing mole, contact a Board Certified Dermatologist for an evaluation.
The AAD has some great informational resources on finding skin cancer. Click here to visit their site.
Reversing Sun Damage
If you don’t do the things mentioned above and you manage to avoid skin cancer, you may still walk away with damage to your skin if you enjoy the sun too much. I have a lot of clients who are reformed sun worshippers. They used to love to tan and even worse, go to tanning beds, but learned how bad it was and stopped. These are people that have avoided something as serious as skin cancer, but developed sun spots or brown spots as a result of too much sun exposure. Is this you? If so, I have a number of in-studio treatments we can do to work on reversing sun damage created during your sun loving years! Contact me with questions.