(WGHP) — Whether it’s yard work, playing in the pool or enjoying the sunshine, many of us enjoy the outdoors in the summertime.
But this good weather can take a toll on your skin. Doctor Swetha Pathak, a dermatologist with Novant Health, has important reminders for summer skincare.
Do I really need to wear sunscreen every day?
Everyone needs to protect themselves from the ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun. While it’s common sense to lather up at the pool or the beach, you still need to cover up on ordinary days.
The parts of your body that are exposed on a day-to-day basis are vulnerable to sun exposure.
Do sunscreen sprays provide sufficient coverage?
Sunscreens come in many different vehicles – creams, lotions, gel, solid sticks, and spray.
While sprays can be easier to apply, it can be difficult to know if you have used enough, so be careful as you apply it.
How often should I reapply?
Sunscreen needs to be applied in appropriate quantities to achieve the “SPF” sun protective factor written on the label.
Once an adequate amount is applied, it needs to be reapplied every 2 hours with continuous sun exposure or anytime after water exposure or increased sweating.
Are new freckles or moles always cause for concern?
Freckles can be hereditary (born with) or acquired after sun exposure/sunburns. A person’s tendency to form moles is genetic and new moles appear over time typically from childhood to mid-adult life.
New moles later in life should be evaluated by a dermatologist. Moles or freckles that change or become symptomatic should be evaluated as well.
Do people with darker skin need to worry about sun exposure?
Yes, they do. Skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of skin color. While people with darker skin have increased melanin in their skin that can offer some protection against UV radiation, they are still at risk of forming skin cancers.
People with darker skin tones are prone to skin cancers in other areas that are not commonly exposed to the sun – like the palms and soles, inside the mouth, or even under the nails.
Should I do anything specific to treat a sunburn?
Once sunburn occurs, the first step is to stop any further exposure to the sun and take immediate action to heal the skin, prevent infection and control pain. The skin is our body’s barrier to the outside world and is the first line of defense in keeping us healthy.
Depending on the severity of the burn a topical steroid (like hydrocortisone found over the counter) can help ease the discomfort. Ibuprofen can help reduce the immediate swelling, redness and pain associated with sunburns.
If the affected skin blisters after a sunburn, allow those to heal on their own. Do not peel.
If you have a sunburn that is causing symptoms like fevers, chills or headaches, you should seek immediate medical care.