Summer days in San Diego typically feature hours spent on the beach, enjoying warmer waves and of course tanning in the hot sun. It is any Californian’s favorite season, and we consider ourselves lucky to be able to take advantage of such beautiful weather for most of the year.
However, such beauty often comes at a price to your health. While we all enjoy a nice bronze tone, the sun’s harmful rays can have a lasting negative effect on your well-being, causing heat stroke, sun spots, skin discoloration and even melanoma, the most common strain of skin cancer.
In order to avoid harsh signs of aging and risks to your general health, we recommend the following tips to enjoy the long summer days while keeping your skin youthful and healthy.
Apply & Reapply
Sunscreen is not a permanent, waterproof seal from the sun! In fact, whether sunscreen is labeled sport or water resistant, it is usually irrelevant. We always recommend applying sunscreen as soon as you step outside and reapplying every two hours that you are exposed to UV rays. While the SPF (sun protection factor) of your chosen sunscreen makes a difference in the percentage of UVB rays that are blocked from reaching your skin, it does not affect the longevity of your sunscreen’s protection. Be sure to reapply often, especially if you have children whose skin is more sensitive and susceptible to damage.
Enjoy Some Shade
It is so easy to let hours go by completely exposed to the sun during the summer, but it is vital to your health to give yourself some shade every few hours. We recommend wearing a hat to protect your face from sun damage and wrinkles but make it a point to get shade every two hours while you reapply your sunscreen. Giving your body a break from the sun will remind you of how hot you are and give you a chance to replenish with sunscreen, water, and a cool breeze.
Heat stroke is so common during these hotter months, especially with the current heat waves plaguing Southern California. Staying hydrated, shady and giving your body time to rest are all important tips to enjoying the sun safely.
Just as there are self-check methods for examining for breast cancer, skin cancer checks are just as important. Performing a full body exam on a weekly basis will help you ensure you are not susceptible to skin cancer or help you catch signs early. These checks include scanning your whole body, head to toe (using a mirror for those hard to see places), and making note of any moles or growths you might see.
It is important to keep an eye on all moles, noting each week if or how they have changed. Warning signs of possibly cancerous moles include the following symptoms (your ABCDEs):
- Asymmetry (a mole that is not symmetrical on both sides)
- Border (a mole whose edges are irregular or ragged)
- Color (a mole with different colors or irregular shades)
- Diameter (a mole whose diameter is larger than an average pencil’s eraser)
- Evolving (a mole that either changes over time to show irregularities, or one that looks different than those around it)
Treat them Early
If you notice any irregularities in growths on your skin, contact Coastal Plastic Surgeons immediately to schedule an appointment with one of our surgeons. It is always better to remove these moles before they grow, as cancer can spread from skin to other vital organs. If treated early, melanoma has a high rate of remission.
For more information, call us at (858) 365-3558.