Many People Forgo Sunscreen as Summer Season Ends
Summer is over and cooler weather is upon us. Some parts of the US have even experienced an early snow. As many people are busy packing up their summer clothes and looking towards the holiday season they are also, unfortunately, setting aside their sunscreen and sun protection habits.
As health care providers and dermatologist PAs we know that wearing sunscreen during the winter months is just as important and during summer sunburn weather.
Patients need to be reminded that sunscreen protection is important year-round. Even when we wear warm clothing that covers most of the skin, the hands and face are still exposed. It’s these areas that are the most common places for skin cancer to appear. Studies have shown that melanoma of the head and neck are particulary dangerous: people with melanoma in these areas are twice as likely to die from the disease as patients who have melanoma on other areas of their body. Furthermore, more than 30 percent of all facial basal cell carcinomas occur on the nose, showing that extra precaution should be taken to protect that area of the face.
Many people apply a moisturing lotion to their skin in the winter months to help protect against the cold and windy weather. Many of those same people believe that things like wind and cold weather cause aging skin signs like wrinkles. Our patients need to be reminded that things like sun spots, wrinkles, and sagging skin are caused not by weather conditions but by repeated unprotected exposure to UV radiation. People that participate in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding should be especially careful: UV levels increase by 10 percent to 12 percent with every 1,000 meters of increase in altitude.
A simple reminder to pick up a daily lotion that contains at least an SPF of 15 could help many patients avoid a skin cancer diagnosis down the road.
Image: Marcel Regimbald