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Summit Medical Group: Thrive - July 2019
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Sun Vs. Skin: What You Need to Know

When it comes to our love affair with the sun, there’s a disconnect between what we say and what we do.

Sixty-six percent of Americans surveyed said they know that sun exposure increases the risk for cancer. That’s based on a survey conducted for the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Yet, less than 50 percent said they use sunscreen to reduce that risk.

Besides causing skin cancer, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light—either from the sun or tanning beds—causes skin changes that make us look older as we age.

How Sunlight Ages Skin

The sun’s toll on your skin. Here are few ways it can cause trouble:

  • Wrinkles. Loss of elasticity from sun exposure can make your skin sag and wrinkle.
  • Dry skin, especially on the lower legs, elbows, and forearms.
  • Age spots. Sometimes called liver spots, they have nothing to do with the liver. These harmless flat, brown spots bigger than freckles often mar the face, hands, arms, back, and feet.

Seeing the Light

To reduce your risk for skin cancer and to keep your skin looking younger, you should:

  • Cover all exposed skin with a liberal amount of a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an
    SPF of at least 30. “Broad-spectrum” guards against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB)
    rays. Reapply about every two hours, even if it’s cloudy, and after swimming or sweating. Don’t forget
    your eyelids, earlobes, scalp, and top of your feet! These are commonly missed places.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Seek shade when you should. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Protect children by making sure they play in the shade, use protective clothing, and apply sunscreen.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand. They reflect and worsen the damaging rays of the sun,
    increasing the odds of sunburn.
  • Get vitamin D through a healthy diet that may include supplements. While sun exposure can help your body make vitamin D, seeking the sun could worsen your risk for cancer.
  • Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you see anything on your skin changing, growing, or bleeding, see a dermatologist.

Hari Nadiminti, MD, Medical Director of Mohs/Dermatology says, “The key for skin cancer is early detection. If you have a concerning skin lesion, please have it evaluated by a dermatologist. At SMG, we have made this a priority.”

See a New Spot or Notice a Change in Your Skin?
If you notice something different, get it checked out. SMG dermatologists diagnose and treat conditions that affect the skin, hair, nails, and sweat glands. We also offer screening and procedures for a variety of skin issues, including common and serious skin cancers.
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© The StayWell Company, LLC. 2019.

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