Hot summer ahead; take the sunscreen and use it
Oswald Lightsey Mikell
The warm weather has arrived, and with it comes our glorious sunshine - and those sunburns. Excessive sun exposure, especially sunburn, is now known to be a major risk factor in the development of skin cancer.
It also increases the appearance of aging.
And, you don't have to be a sun worshiper to be overexposed to the sun's damaging rays. Those of us living here in the Lowcountry and other warm climates are particularly at risk. So what can you do to protect your skin? One answer is sunscreen.
Minutes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number = maximum sun exposure time.
For example, if you burn after 10 minutes of sun exposure, an SPF of 15 will allow you to be in the sun for up to 150 minutes without burning.
The other most common problem with usage is re-application. Sunscreen can easily be rubbed off, wiped off, dissolved in water or with perspiration. You must re-apply sunscreen throughout the day to maintain protection.
Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours until sunset - even if the label promises "all-day" protection. It should be re-applied after swimming or sweating or if it has been rubbed off.
And, always check the label for an expiration date. Sunscreen ingredients lose their effectiveness over time; expired sunscreen must be replaced.
Dr. Oswald Lightsey Mikell, certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, is the owner of Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry.