Celebrate the Skin you are in by Protecting it from UV Damage
With summer finally here, many of us are reveling in the warmer weather it has brought. With the increase in outdoor activities, there is no better time than now to discuss skin cancer, and the myths that may keeping you at risk for this dangerous condition.
Myth: Tanning is necessary to sustain healthy vitamin D . . .
Fact: Vitamin D production is not stimulated by a golden hue on your skin, but by exposing large areas of skin to UVB light for just a few minutes a day. Experts say that this habit can help the body produce 10,000 IU or more. When done daily, this adds up to ample stores and better overall wellness. It is important to determine the timing that is right for your complexion, your location, and the time of year. If spending time in the sunshine is not an option for you, vitamin D may be boosted with supplements of vitamin D3. Just be sure to add in some vitamin A and K to maximize production!
Myth: Skin is protected by a self-tanner . . .
Fact: Research has actually found that sun damage may occur more easily if UV exposure occurs after applying a self-tanner. If you use this type of product, do not go into the sunlight for at least an hour after application, as the prompt exposure has been shown to increase the number of free radicals on the skin, which in turn increases the risk of skin cancer. Self tanner or not, you still need sunscreen.
Myth: Higher SPF is better to avoid skin cancer . . .
Fact: This is an interesting question that is only exacerbated by marketing. The truth is, 93% of the UV rays that can cause sun damage are blocked by SPF 15. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it indicates how much light is filtered by a product. 93% is pretty darn good! If you want more, choose an SPF 30 product, which filters about 97% of light. An important note about sunscreen is that SPF only applies to UVB rays, those that can cause a burn. However, UVA rays are also damaging and can cause skin cancer. Protection from these rays is found in broad spectrum sunscreen. Another important note: apply liberally and often. Sunscreen needs to be applied every 2 to 3 hours regardless of SPF.
Is it time to learn more about your skin? Call Chevy Chase Dermatology at 301-656-SKIN (7546).