how to protect your skin from the sun

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) — More sunny days are coming, which means many of us are already spending more days outside. May is skin cancer awareness month, and Ochsner experts have tips on the importance of summer skincare.

Dr. Kelli Hall, a dermatologist at Ochsner, said skin care in the summer is important because your skin is the largest organ in your body and makes up about 15% of your body weight. She said hydration is a big part of skin care, in addition to sunscreen and sun-protective clothing.

Nobody likes to get burned, but is there such a thing as a healthy tan?

Hall said there is no safe way to tan — dark skin is a sign of damage. Tanning leads to premature aging, increased risk of skin cancer. She said sunburns can be very painful and, if they’re bad enough, require a visit to the doctor, and the best way to treat sunburns is to avoid one.

What should we know about heat rash?

Chlorine, heat and sweat are major causes of skin conditions such as eczema

Get out of the pool, take a shower as soon as possible to rinse off chlorine

Products like Boudreaux’s Butt Paste for heat rash, eczema flare-ups

Hall said you should use about a glass of sunscreen to cover your body. You should see it on your skin and blend it in. She said it’s also important to protect your face. Don’t forget to apply to your nose, ears and head. Eyelids are usually the thinnest skin on your body.

Is one type of sunscreen better than another?

· Two basic types – mineral and chemical.

· Many dermatologists prefer mineral because of less absorption through the skin.

Does Waterproof Sunscreen Really Work?

· It does, if used correctly.

· Look for products labeled ‘highly water resistant’.

· Need to reapply every time you get out of the pool or about every 1.5 – 2 hours.

Christina Rowley, assistant dermatology physician at Ochsner, said it’s better to avoid outdoor activities during peak sunlight hours. She said to minimize children’s playtime outside, especially younger children.

Rowley said we may not feel the sun on a cloudy day, but it’s still there. If it’s cloudy or even rainy, you’ll still get about 80% of the UV rays. You can protect yourself in the car with the windows down.

She said the best way to treat sunburns is to avoid them. You can use gentle skin care, cool compresses, aloe lotion or petroleum jelly. Rowley said you may need to see a medical professional, depending on how much surface area has been burned or blistered.

Dr. Nick Frank, a Mohs surgeon at Ochsner, spoke about Mohs surgery, a precision surgery to treat skin cancer. Thin layers of cancerous skin are gradually removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. He said the wound could be stitched up to reduce scarring or when the natural healing process is insufficient.

Some of the advantages are that the procedure is very fast and accurate. Frank said that after the anesthetic is injected, it is almost painless and also very effective. For a standard tumor treated for the first time, the success rate is as high as 98 to 99%.

Recovery time for Mohs surgery, depending on size, takes up to 4 to 6 weeks. Infection, bleeding and pain are rare.

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