We love the sunny skies and longer, fun-filled days of summer. However, all that sun and fun can do a number on our skin

Family Medicine

INTEGRIS Health Discusses Summer Skin Challenges and Tips

Woman Sun TanningWe love the sunny skies and longer, fun-filled days of summer. Swimming, exercising more and spending time hiking and camping just come more naturally when the weather is warmer and there are more hours of daylight. However, all that sun and fun can do a number on our skin.

Back in the day, before we knew any better, the start of the summer season often came with a deep sunburn – the first one of the year. Sun worship in the 1970s and 1980s involved a coat of baby oil or zero-SPF deep tanning oil, with the understanding that you’d have to burn before you’d tan. In the 1990s and early 2000s, tanning beds were all the rage, which are as dangerous as the sun when it comes to skin cancer. Nowadays we cringe when we remember those eras, and rightfully so.  

Bashar S. Alasad, M.D., a board-certified medical oncologist with the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute at Southwest Medical Center says, “Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and as we approach the summer, we need to protect ourselves from the fact that sunburn and ultraviolet radiation can cause skin damage and early skin aging.” 

“We can limit sun exposure by decreasing the amount of time, we spend in the sun especially during the time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the most intense sun damage can occur,” says Alasad. We also need to wear protective clothing to cover sun-exposed areas, and apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to sun exposed areas such as the nose, ears, neck and hands every two hours, more if you are swimming.

Other tips Alasad reinforces are to wear protective clothing, sunglasses and stay in shaded areas since there is no sunscreen that can block ultraviolet radiation. “This is especially important for people who have high risk of skin cancer including people with pale skin, blonde or red hair and patients who have a prior history of skin cancer or family members with skin cancer. Also, be sure to check any medications you are taking that may increase sun sensitivity. Most of all please enjoy your summer.”

For more information about summer skin safety or other health tips, visit the INTEGRIS Health blog.


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