Summer is right around the corner, which means more people are seeking sunshine at the beach, exposing themselves to harmful UV-A and UV-B radiation.
According to Dr. Olivia Castro, a family medicine physician at ChristianaCare Primary Care at Smyrna, UV radiation can be damaging because it can harm the DNA in our skin cells, potentially leading to skin cancer. Even if you have a darker skin tone, proper protection is still crucial.
One of the most effective ways to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer is by using sunscreen correctly. Dr. Castro emphasizes that sunscreen should be applied regardless of your skin color.
"Regardless of your color, you should be wearing sunscreen. Although African-Americans have a lower prevalence of skin cancer, they are more likely to die from skin cancer just due to the fact that it’s being found at a later stage."
To maximize the effectiveness of sunscreen, it is recommended to reapply it every two hours while outdoors, even on cloudy days. Dr. Castro advises paying attention to often-forgotten areas like the ears, neck, top of the feet, scalp, and even the lips. These areas are commonly overlooked but are just as susceptible to sun damage.
It can take as little as 15 minutes of sun exposure under a UV index of 8 to 10 before sunburn can develop. This emphasizes the importance of protecting your skin from the start, as even a short time in the sun can have adverse effects.
With proper protection and regular sunscreen application, you can enjoy the sun safely and reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. So, don't forget to pack your sunscreen, sunglasses, and wide-brimmed hat before hitting the beach this summer.