As summer arrives, putting on sunscreen becomes more important.
Ana Marie Liolios, a dermatologist at Mosaic Life Care Plastic Surgery and Dermatology, said that regardless of skin tone, everyone needs to wear sunscreen as a protective method against skin cancer.
“Everybody needs SPF (sun protection factor). SPF 30 to 50 is sufficient for everyone’s skin, because after SPF 50 we kind of start losing our protection and it kind of levels off with how much protection we’re getting,” Liolios said.
It’s a good idea to reapply if you’re using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50.
“I tell people I’d rather you buy 10 bottles of SPF 50 and reapply every two hours than buy a couple bottles of SPF 100, because they’re really expensive, and then not reapply every two hours,” Liolios said.
She said it’s important to cover all areas of the body, especially ones that you think might not need sunscreen.
“The areas that get more sun are the areas that people don’t think about. Everybody wears a hat to protect their face, but we forget about our ears. Everybody wears long sleeves to protect the skin on their arms, but then we drive and we forget about our hands,” Liolios said. “It’s not that any area is more at risk because of the certain area, but it’s just we don’t think to cover it as much as we think to cover other areas.”
When it comes to tanning, both artificial and real sunlight put you at a risk for melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, according to mayoclinic.org.
“Whether it’s sun exposure from an artificial source, like a tanning bed, or sun from outside ... it’s all just as dangerous. Avoiding tanning is super important,” Liolios said.
Even tanning infrequently can lead to a risk for cancer.
“Infrequent tanning still leads to a high risk for melanoma,” Liolios said.
She said self-tanners are a great alternative to tanning.
“Self-tanners actually are twofold. One, it gives you that tan feeling that a lot of people appreciate. The other thing is it actually provides a little bit of sun protection because it’s giving you another layer,” Liolios said.
The best way to protect yourself from sun exposure is incorporating a regular skincare routine.
“The number one way I tell people to incorporate a sunscreen into their daily practice. If they already put on lotion every day, I say the next time you’re going to go buy one, find one that has a sunscreen in a daily moisturizer,” Liolios said.
To learn more about skin cancer or sun protection, visit mayoclinic.org or reach out directly to Mosaic Plastic Surgery and Dermatology by calling 816-383-8180.