by Dr. Carmen Montano, M.D.
Summer is here and along with outdoor activities and fun comes increased sun exposure. That means a greater probability of dark spots, new wrinkles and skin cancer. I don’t mean to diminish the fun that summer brings, but caution with the sun is prudent. The most hazardous hours of the day are between 10am and 3p.
We know that vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and that sunscreen prevents absorption of the vitamin D. Better take a vitamin D supplement and use sunscreen to daily protect your skin from skin cancer and premature aging. Many young people are only thinking in the present moment and try to get that beautiful suntan to post their photos on facebook. Unfortunately, they are not thinking of the negative consequences and high price to pay for that high sun exposure.
Some people don’t consider small exposures like driving or walking to the store after parking the car, walking to the mailbox, etc., as ‘being exposed to the sun’. New Mexico has many sunny days; and even during cloudy days, the sun damaging radiation penetrates the clouds. You need protection from both types of solar radiation: UVA and UVB.
UVA rays cause aging, discoloration, wrinkles and other effects that can progress to skin cancer. These rays penetrate deeper into the skin and can cause Melanoma. UVA rays damage collagen and elastin causing premature aging. UVB rays cause you to tan and burn and are linked to basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.
Wear sunglasses. They can filter UVA and UVB rays and protect your eyelids from sun damage. They also prevent the need to squint, decreasing eye wrinkles, and lower the risk of eye melanoma and cataract formation.
Use a Broad-Spectrum Sun Block: Be sure yours has a SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 and protects from UVA and UVB rays. Reapply after being in the water. Use a lip balm (also SPF 30 or higher); apply your lip gloss/lipstick over it.
And don’t forget the skin moisturizer and drink plenty of water; keeping your body well hydrated maintains collagen and prevents wrinkles. Happy Summer!