Welcome to the Sun

Keeping the Sun Fun

Photo by Felicia Ferguson

Beach life as a local is laid back and much more casual. Flip flops and linen are acceptable formal wear, pearls are the only jewelry needed, and make-up is an afterthought. Sunscreen, though, becomes part of a daily skin care routine—or if it’s not, it should be.

Regardless of how many days of sun you had in your previous home state, the sun in Florida is different. We’re closer to the equator and so it’s not only hotter, but those UVA and UVB rays are more intense.

Here are a few quick things to keep in mind now that you’re a Florida local:

The aisles of the local stores are laden with sunscreen, hats, and cover ups for a reason!
Sun hats, lightweight clothing, and sunscreen should be staples in every closet. No matter the brand of sunscreen chosen or whether it’s a chemical or a mineral blend, an SPF 30 or greater is the preference of dermatologists. Apply it twenty minutes prior to sun exposure for best absorption and don’t forget to reapply! A one-and-done application in the morning often leads to reddened skin and burns a few hours later. Yes, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s much better than the alternative. So, make a mental note to reapply at least every two hours or more often if swimming or sweating.

Yikes! What’s that spot?
If you find a new mole or have an existing one that has mutated into an odd looking, dark bump, make an appointment with a dermatologist soon—especially if you’re over 40. An existing mole that exhibits any of the ABCDE features should also be referred for expert consultation. Asymmetry, Border Irregularity, Color Change, Diameter greater than 6mm, and Evolution/Elevation are all signs that a previously benign mole has changed and now needs further scrutiny.

The greatest risk factors for melanoma are a personal or family history of melanoma and the presence of atypical or numerous (more than 50) moles. Other risk factors for all forms of skin cancer include fair skin, a history of blistering sunburns (especially in childhood), excessive sun exposure, UV tanning booth usage, personal or family history of skin cancer, a weakened immune system, and advanced age.

Ugh, cancer, really?
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Each year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people. And, it is estimated that nearly 200,000 more will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2019. Fortunately, if caught and treated early, most skin cancers are highly curable.

Get a baseline skin evaluation.
Since you’re new and all, it would be a good idea to get an initial comprehensive skin screening before your life in the Florida sun revs into high gear. This will provide your doctor with a valuable starting point for monitoring for any new moles or changes to current ones.

Schedule a comprehensive skin screening with Dermatology Specialists:
We encourage you to take the time, not the risk, and schedule your appointment for a comprehensive skin screening by calling us at (850) 622-0600.