By Dana Galbraith, M.D.
Family Medicine Specialist
St. Anthony’s Medical Center
Americans are in love with the look of sun-bronzed skin – that “I spend all of my time on the beach” look. Unfortunately, that “healthy glow” isn’t all that healthy.
Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage skin, even at low levels. The more intense the sun rays, the greater the damage. Too much exposure can cause or accelerate dry skin, laugh lines, crow’s feet and wrinkling – which don’t look “healthy” at all. Even more worrisome, the sun’s rays are responsible for many skin cancers.
Here are some tips to stay safe in the sun:
- When possible, minimize exposure when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to all exposed skin, even on cloudy days; and be sure to reapply frequently, especially after swimming.
- Wear lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher to protect your lips.
- Wear a hat to protect your scalp.
- The key to healthy skin, at any age, is to care for it gently. Avoid long, hot showers or baths, since they remove the natural oils from your skin. Avoid strong soaps. Pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it, then immediately apply moisturizer.
- After swimming, be sure to clean your skin thoroughly to get rid of the chlorine and other chemicals that can dry your skin.
Protect your skin now to avoid damage that can last a lifetime.
Dr. Dana Galbraith, a Family Medicine specialist, is a member of St. Anthony’s Physician Organization. She practices at St. Anthony’s Family Health Partners, at 59 Grasso Plaza in Affton. Call 314-543-5258 for an appointment. For a referral to any St. Anthony’s physician, call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 1-800-554-9550.