Summer means staying out in the sun and having fun, but that also means UV rays are stronger than ever. Did you know that about 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime? Going out and getting some Vitamin D from the sun can be very beneficial, but too much sunlight can also be harmful. The best way to reduce your risk is to avoid skin damage from UV rays. Dr. Nandini Gowda, an internal medicine physician at UCR Health Multispecialty Center, shares some tips on how to stay safe and healthy in summer!
What is UV?
- UV stands for ultraviolet. There are two types of UV rays: UVB and UVA. These rays cause most skin cancers, and they can come from the sun and artificial tanning beds.
Despite the temptation to play all day and get a nice tan in the sun without sunscreen, the use of sunscreen is essential, even for daily wear. This is also applicable for gloomy days as clouds do not stop UV rays from shining down on our skin. A tan or sunburn means that there is skin damage present. “I recommend sunscreen for all skin types, staying hydrated during summer months, and loose clothing,” shares Dr. Gowda. Along with her recommendation, here are four ways to help protect ourselves from UV damage:
- Avoid exposure to UV light
- The sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Try to seek shade or use sunscreen if it’s necessary to be out in the sun during these times.
- Use sunscreen and protective clothing
- Make sure to put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours. Sunscreen comes in a variety of forms such as spray, lotion, or cream. Ensure that your sunscreen has an SPF of at least 15.
- Check your skin for changes
- If new moles or freckles appear or other skin changes, speak to your healthcare provider for any concerns.
- Take preventive measures
- There are multiple ways to prevent and protect ourselves. Ensuring that you’re up to date on all vaccines and keeping a healthy diet can help maintain your immune system and thus can help you and your skin stay safe.
Always remember to talk to your primary healthcare provider if you have any questions regarding skin cancer and its prevention. You can also contact us at 1-844-827-8000 or submit an online appointment request to meet with a UCR Health physician.
- The Skin Cancer Foundation: www.skincancer.org/prevention
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/
- The American Academy of Dermatology: www.aad.org
About UCR Health
UCR Health is comprised of a team of physicians, specialists and healthcare professionals dedicated to improving people’s health. With five medical offices located throughout Inland Empire and Coachella Valley, UCR Health is growing to meet the healthcare needs of the region, bringing innovative, culturally sensitive medical care to the community. Established alongside the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, UCR Health’s patient-centered primary care and specialty services deliver university-based healthcare excellence and innovation to all communities.