Floridians and visitors flock to the Florida beaches during the summer. Unfortunately, spending hours in the sun leads to skin damage and an increased risk of developing skin cancer. At Sand Lake Dermatology Center, we are dedicated to the prevention, treatment and management of skin cancer. Recent studies estimate that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers; however, we can all enjoy a day at the beach while staying safe in the sun by following a few simple guidelines:
· Plan outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon or evening to avoid peak hours of the sun. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
· Wear a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to exposed areas of skin and reapply every 90 minutes or after swimming or sweating. Make sure you cover often-missed spots such as the hands, feet, back of the neck and ears. Some of our favorite sunscreens are Elta MD UV Aero SPF45, Vanicream SPF50+ and Celazome Waterproof SPF30.
· Apply sunscreen before you leave the house so it doesn’t get washed off easily in the pool or at the beach. You should have to rub it in pretty well—otherwise, you are not using enough. Follow the guideline of one ounce (or enough to fill a shot glass) which is considered the average amount of sunscreen needed to cover exposed areas of the body.
· Do not deliberately tan. Buy or rent a good umbrella or tent and start a new trend with your friends.
· Wear protective clothing and glasses outdoors and stay in the shade when the sun is the hottest. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.
· Check the UV Index provided by the EPA and National Weather Service.
Go ahead and enjoy your summer—spend time outdoors with your friends and family. However, be sure to monitor your skin for moles that change color, shape, size, itch, or bleed. If you are concerned about a spot, call Sand Lake Dermatology Center at 407-352-8553 to have it checked.