Summer Skin Health
By N.C. Diamantis, MD, FAACS
The fragrance of summer is in full bloom. The night sky is clear and the days are long. The days are hot and the sun is brightest during this time of year. We need to be especially diligent about protecting our skin from the summer elements. Enclosed are several common sense concepts that I recommend.

Select a light and smooth sunscreen. Sunscreen is your first line of protection against the elements. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:

• Broad-spectrum protection (protect against UV–A and UV–B rays)

• Sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher

• Water resistant

A sunscreen that offers the above help to protect your skin from sunburn (UV–B), early skin aging (UV–A), and skin cancer. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. All sunscreen require time to bind to the skin prior to being fully effective. To be sure, I recommend you apply the sunscreen 1/2 hour prior to going outside in the sun. This should be ample time for the sunscreen solution to bind to your skin and start protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays.

Sunscreen is a vital step to protecting yourself against the Ohio elements. It, however, alone cannot fully protect you. In addition to wearing sunscreen, I recommend taking the following steps to protect your skin from unwanted skin changes… like wrinkles, brown spots, and pre-cancerous lesions. First , seek shade when appropriate. Keep in mind, the suns rays are strongest between 10 AM and 2 PM. A useful tip is, “if your shadow is shorter than you are… seek shade.” Try and wear protective clothing during the sun filled day. A long sleeve shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and polarized sunglasses provide the ideal protection. Moreover, take care and use extra caution near water, snow, and sand , as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which will exponentially increase your chance of sunburn. Many of my patients have a vitamin D deficiency. I recommend you get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include over-the-counter vitamin supplements. Do not seek the sun for a source of vitamin D. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery recommends everyone avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and premature wrinkling. If you want to look tan, you may wish to use a self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it. Finally, check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, itching or bleeding on your skin, schedule a consult with your Doctor. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

I encourage you to make the most of the great outdoors. Several of my tips are designed to help you and your family have a skin healthy summer. Enjoy Ohio’s Beauty! For an in depth free consultation; call Dr. N. C. Diamantis at 216-227-3333.