House Call: Protecting Your Skin From The Sun Pt. 1

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 11:44 AM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. In the first part of our three part series, Dr. Sheri Farasat, Dermatologist at Mountain State Medical Specialties, Inc., joins us to talk about protecting your skin from the sun.

1). How simple is it to protect your skin?

Some people think about sun protection only when they spend a day at the lake, beach, or pool. Sun exposure adds up day after day, and it happens every time you are in the sun. Even though sunlight is the main source of UV rays, you do not have to avoid the sun completely. It would be unwise to stay inside if it would keep you from being active, because physical activity is important for good health; however, getting too much sun can be harmful.

Limit your exposure to UV rays by following some simple steps. Remember that a one ounce of sunscreen, is enough to fill a shot glass, that is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of your body. It is best to wear sun protective clothing, as it acts as a physical barrier between the sun and your skin. A large, brimmed hat and sunglasses offers you additional UV protection. Sunglasses are the best way to protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Choose sunglasses with the UV 400-protection label. It is especially important to protect children from harmful effects of the sun because sunburns during childhood increase the risk of getting skin cancer later in life.

2). Why is it important to avoid sunburn?

Sunburns are painful and should be avoided for that reason; however, sunburns represent skin damage. Your skin can repair some damage to DNA that results from too much sun, but this safety mechanism can be overwhelmed by the massive DNA damage caused by a sunburn. Mutations that are not repaired can lead to the development of skin cancer. This is why we should all avoid sunburn, especially for children. The sun’s skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays also produce free radicals in skin cells, which can lead not only to cancer, but also to wrinkles, blotches, and premature aging.

3). How common is skin cancer?

Most people are not aware that skin cancer, while largely preventable, is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. In fact, more people will get skin cancer this year than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers combined. The good news is that it is simple to protect our skin and reduce our risk of getting skin cancer.

Skin cancer is among the few preventable cancers; yet incidence rates continue to rise, as 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in more than 2.2 million people in the U.S. each year. It is estimated that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years of age. If you should have any questions or concerns about your skin, please contact my office in Bridgeport at 304-624-7200. Our office staff will be glad to assist you.

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