Sun Safety for Spring Break

February 8, 2021

By: Geoffrey Potts, M.D., Wayne Health Department of Dermatology

As we find ourselves in the depth of another frigid cold winter in Michigan, many of us look to sunny and warm locales for upcoming spring break trips, and others look to artificial indoor tanning. Make no mistake, that while the warmth feels good, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are a threat to our population in Michigan. Skin is the largest organ of the body and we need to protect it.

Reviewing sun safety and emulating those behaviors for our children is important to reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. With the myriad of sunscreens and sunblock on the market, choosing one can be difficult. SPF 30 or above is necessary to avoid aging and skin cancer as well as broad spectrum protection against dangerous ultraviolet A and B rays from the sun. Even young people and patients with skin of color can develop skin cancer and aging from the sun. Recent controversy on absorption of certain chemical sunscreens or potential damage to coral reefs has led many to avoid them. Use of zinc oxide containing sun block avoids the controversy and potential reactions some have to chemical sunscreen. Application of sun block every 2 hours is necessary to maintain protection and water exposure requires more frequent application.

Sun blocks are just one tool we have against damage from the sun. Sun protective clothing are often rated as UPF or ultraviolet protective factor. Hats also protect ears and balding scalps that many of us deal with as we age. Sunglasses should also be used to avoid eye damage. The Ultraviolet Index (UV Index) is given daily to account for how much UV light is reaching us, potentially causing more damage to the skin. It is important to remember that mid-day exposure is higher risk.

Early detection of skin cancer saves lives. If you have a concerning mole see a board-certified dermatologist. Prevention is key to avoid skin cancer especially those with highest risk including lighter skin or eye color, number of moles, and history of blistering sun burns.

At Wayne Health Dermatology we provide care for all skin types and treat diseases of the skin, hair and nails. We give close attention to every patient to provide individualized care as no two patients with skin disease are the same. With locations in Dearborn, Troy, Detroit and Monroe, we can provide care to a wide range of the population in Southeast Michigan.

To make an appointment with a Wayne Health dermatologist, call 877-923-8839 or request an appointment online now.

Sun Safety for Spring Break
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